Chapter 144: Is He Going to End Me In a Single Strike?

Tens of li away, a teacher and a group of students were gathered around a petite woman. Upon seeing her eyelids fluttering open, they began cheering in delight.

“Xiaoxi, you’re finally awake!” Bai Susu patted his chest in relief, calming down his shocked heart.

Ji Xiaoxi groggily opened her eyes as her memory slowly drifted back to her. 

She remembered how Zu An had helped her lure away the zombies. She had wanted to help him, but there was nothing she had learned that was useful against those zombies. So, she could only try her best to hold back her tears while watching Zu An left with the huge group of zombies before hurriedly rushing out of the mountain valley in seek of help.

Unfortunately for her, it was already night time then, and there were many dangers lurking on the plain. For some reason, the dragon feces she carried with her seemed to be not as effective as before. While most ferocious beasts still dared not approach her, they continued prowling in the vicinity. Upon realizing that she was only a young woman, they began trying to probe her, wanting to see how powerful she was. 

Later on, she even encountered a pack of wolves, who chased her all around the place. Left in a desperate position, she hurriedly lit up the signaling stick Bai Susu had given to her previously.

It was fortunate that Bai Susu and his group happened to be in the area, so they rushed over to save her. However, her accumulated exhaustion from having run around the place finally took its toll on her, causing her to pass out. It was only now that she finally regained consciousness.

“Xiaoxi, how are you feeling?” Bai Susu heaved a sigh of relief inwardly. If anything were to happen to her, Principal Jiang would really go on a rampage.

“I… I’m fine. Quick, you need to save big brother Ah Zu!” exclaimed Ji Xiaoxi.

At this moment, she really hated herself for her weakness. How could she have fainted at this crucial moment?

“Zu An?” The crowd only remembered right now that she was supposed to be with Zu An. They were too focused on her earlier that they automatically neglected that pesky man.

“What happened to the two of you?” asked Bai Susu.

“We encountered a group of Goldenfur Monstrous Rats earlier in the day. In order to hide from them, we stumbled onto a mysterious mountain valley…” Ji Xiaoxi quickly recounted everything that had happened.

“What? The entire place is filled with zombies?!” Bai Susu was alarmed. 

Such a situation had never happened before. While the academy had warned the students gravely earlier, it was mainly to keep the students on their guard, an additional safety precaution. On the whole, the Ursae Dungeon is still relatively safe, and there were centuries of records to testify to it.

There had never been a sighting of zombies in here before.

However, Bai Susu didn’t doubt Ji Xiaoxi’s words. Putting aside the fact that she was known for her honest-to-fault nature, he had also started to realize that something was amiss in here while exploring the area. The number of ferocious beasts and the extent of their aggression were far greater than before.

“Hurry up and save him!” Ji Xiaoxi tugged Bai Susu’s sleeves as she pleaded with the surrounding students.

The students glanced at one another hesitantly, and eventually, one of them stood forward and said, “If there are really as many zombies as you mentioned, we’d just be running to our deaths too.”

“Indeed. Besides, given how much time has passed, it’s likely that he has already…”

… 

“That’s nonsense! Big brother Ah Zu is definitely fine!” Ji Xiaoxi had always been a kind-hearted but shy individual, so she had never gotten angry at anyone over the years. Yet, she actually lashed out at someone here for Zu An.

Bai Susu fell deep in thought. There was some sense in what the other students were saying too. It was not that they were afraid of death, but the chances were indeed likely that Zu An was already… 

On top of that, if they were to encounter the zombie swarm while trying to save Zu An, there was a high chance that they would meet with casualties. As the teacher-in-charge of this group, he had to prioritize the safety of his students. 

“If you aren’t going, I’ll go by myself!” Ji Xiaoxi rose to her feet and tried to walk away, but she had sprained her leg while running away from the wolves earlier. The stabbing pain in his leg caused her to lose balance and fall back down onto the ground.

“How are you going to save him in your current state!” exclaimed Bai Susu in frustration. “Let’s do this instead. The rest of you stay here; I’ll go take a look by myself.”

There was some risk leaving these students alone here since they consisted of the weaker students, but considering that they were in the outer perimeter and that there were quite a few people in his group, they should be able to fare fine even if ferocious beasts approached them. 

It was then that a lofty voice sounded.

“I’ll go.” 

The crowd turned around, only to see a graceful woman dressed in a white robe standing by the side. Who else could it be other than Chu Chuyan?

“Young miss Chu, what are you doing here?”

“Young miss Chu, did you meet with some trouble?”

… 

The crowd was surprised by her presence. Quite a few men immediately stepped forward to talk to her.

A pity for them, Chu Chuyan didn’t even bother to shoot them a glance. She walked straight toward Ji Xiaoxi and said, “Where’s the mountain valley you split up with him at?”

In truth, she had been feeling quite uneasy ever since entering the dungeon. Zu An’s sudden appearance in the Clans Tournament had foiled the plans of many powers, so it was very likely that someone would try to exact vengeance on him here.

With worry plaguing her mind, she eventually decided to turn around to take a look. It happened so that she caught sight of Ji Xiaoxi’s signaling stick, so she rushed over to take a look. She also happened to overhear her words too.

Ji Xiaoxi was stunned by the beautiful woman before her for a moment, but she quickly snapped out of it. She swiftly drew out the rough location of the mountain valley on the ground for reference.

Chu Chuyan turned to Bai Susu and said, ‘Teacher Bai, you should take care of them. I should be fine alone.”

Leaving those words behind, she swiftly flitted into the distance.

Gazing upon her gradually vanishing silhouette, Ji Xiaoxi couldn’t help but mumble under her breath, “She’s truly ravishing close-up…”

Bai Susu heaved a sigh of relief too. It was good that Chu Chuyan arrived in time. She could already compete with the teachers of the academy in terms of cultivation, so there was no need to worry about her safety. 

… 

Meanwhile, Zu An was still desperately trying to get away. Having watched plenty of military-related movies in his previous life, he decisively chose to hide in one of the forests he passed by. Of course, it was not as if he really had real experience in jungle warfare at all, but the situation was desperate enough to warrant a try.

The four cultivators chasing him were all at the fourth rank, so he didn’t stand a chance at all in a direct encounter. He had to find an opportunity to split them up and strike them down one by one. There were plenty of covers and obstacles in the forest, making it harder for them to come to each other’s aid.

On the other hand, the four cultivators frowned upon seeing that Zu An had fled into the forest. That being said, there was no way they would give up just because of that, especially since they had the advantage in terms of absolute power. Thus, they charged into the forest without much hesitation too.

Zu An leaped around the forest nimbly, making full use of his movement skill and the trees in the area. It was much harder for the four cultivators to follow him now, and for once, he was starting to widen the distance between him and his pursuers. If he continued running on, there was a good chance that he could shake them off.

However, he knew that even if he managed to flee from them once, he might not necessarily be able to flee from them every single time.

There seemed to be plenty of people after his life in this dungeon. If he wanted to survive to the end, he would have to start getting rid of some enemies. 

So, he searched for a tree with a lush crown and leaped into it, making use of the leaves to conceal his presence.

A short moment later, the four cultivators arrived in the vicinity.

“What happened? Did we lose him?”

“Don’t panic! He should be hiding in the vicinity!”

“Everyone, be careful. Make sure to check the branches above too. He could be hiding amidst the trees!”

… 

Zu An’s heart immediately sank. These people were supposed to be students of the academy, but their actions spoke nothing of amateurs at all.

Honestly, Jiang Luofu needs to pull up her stockings. How could she not know when there are so many spies in the academy! I really need to give her an earful when I return!

The four of them searched the area for a while, but it was no easy feat to find an individual when there were so many plausible hiding spots in the forest. 

“This won’t do. It’s no different from searching for a needle in a haystack.”

“Let’s split up. It’ll be much more efficient.”

“Won’t it be dangerous if we split up though? The young master said that his fighting prowess is greater than what it seems on the surface.”

“Tsk! No matter how strong he is, he’s just a mere third rank cultivator. He can’t possibly slay us with a single slash of his sword, right?”

“Yes, that’s right! We’re not like that useless Yuan Wendong anyway. Why would that fool even bother talking to him at that crucial moment? He was asking to be crippled!”

“Alright then, let’s split up and search the area. If you encounter him, there’s no need to go all out. Just try to slow him as much as you can and wait for us to support you.”

… 

The four of them took a direction each, and they slowly scanned outward with wary looks on their faces. The one who was heading in Zu An’s direction was the archer.

This was good news, for he felt that the archer posed the greatest threat to him. Having to deal with the other three melee fighters was already tough enough, but having to keep a lookout for the ranged archer too was really pushing the limits of his focus.

On top of that, the hardest part about running away earlier was that he had to dodge the arrows coming from the archer too, which significantly affected his speed. As a result, the four cultivators were able to slowly gain on him, leaving him with no choice but to head into this forest. 

If he could get rid of this archer, he would have more room to maneuver around, be it whether to engage the other three in a fight or flee.

And this fellow was the one who said that I can’t OHKO him earlier. Hah! Since he already raised the flag, I’m obliged to fulfill his prophecy!

However, looking at the silhouettes of the other three in the distance, Zu An decided to give up on this tempting idea. Fourth rank cultivators were able to cover long distances pretty quickly, and there was no guarantee that he would be able to get the archer in a single shot. The archer was, after all, a fourth rank cultivator as well. 

If he screwed up here, he could very well get encircled and land himself deeper in danger.

The silhouettes of the four cultivators gradually disappeared amidst the forest, but Zu An still chose to hold his position. His decision proved to be right, for a few moments later, all four of them suddenly ran back in unison and scanned the surroundings, only to sigh in disappointment.

“Hmph, looks like that fellow really isn’t here.”

Zu An sneered coldly in his mind. I’ve seen plenty of such trivial tricks on TV. If you think that you can fool me with that, you really ought to get your brain checked out.

The spear user, seemingly the leader of the group, turned to the archer and instructed, “Po Zhongyou, you’ll camp here in case Zu An escaped our notice and returns back here.”

Zu An was delighted to hear that. He was still feeling dismayed at having missed an opportunity to make a move, but who could have thought that they would deliver their comrade right into his hands. 

Though, I must really say that their group sure has queer names. There was that Shit Shangfei earlier, and now there’s this Poo Zhongyou. What’s with their obsession with scat?

Po Zhongyou laughed heartily in response. He raised his bow up high and declared, “Very well! If he dares come back here, I’ll end his life with a single arrow!”

The others nodded in response before swiftly into three directions to resume their search. Clearly, they were afraid that Zu An would get away.

Po Zhongyou took a while to assess the area as he murmured to himself, “I should find a vantage point to get a clearer view of the surroundings. Hmm, that tree looks not bad.”

With a satisfied nod, he nimbly leaped onto one of the lower-lying branches of the tree and swiftly made his way up to the top. However, there was a surprise waiting for him there. He found himself welcomed with the sharp, cold glint of a sword. 

It was a fast, sharp, and accurate slash. To make things worse, he was still in midair when the attack occurred, making it impossible for him to maneuver around. He couldn’t dodge even if he wanted to.

This lightning-fast sword slit his throat, turned his shocked exclamation into guttural groans.

“How about that? You said that I couldn’t get you in a single slash, right? Looks like it’s time for you to review your review.” 

The leaves parted, and Zu An’s gleeful face emerged from within.

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