Chapter 145: A Family Should Remain Together

Po Zhongyou grabbed the sword on his neck, hoping to push it away. However, it was futile. The damage was already done, and it had sapped him of whatever strength he had. His hands simply slumped feebly on the sword as he struggled to take in his final breath.

His mind had devolved into chaos. Why is this fellow here? Has he been waiting here all this while to ambush me?

He finally understood why the young master instructed them to show utmost caution lest they were done in by this fellow’s slyness.

But the young master didn’t tell me that this fellow would be so despicable! Even when having successfully landed a fatal blow, he still doesn’t want to let me rest in peace!

Looking at the look of ridicule on Zu An’s face, Po Zhongyou felt heat rushing into his head. Blood also gushed up his throat and splattered everywhere.

You have successfully trolled Po Zhongyou for +1024 Rage!

Po Zhongyou continued to glare at Zu An with widened eyes, but his body had begun slumping forward. He was already dead.

“It’s over already?”

Zu An was disappointed. He was still hoping to obtain a bit more Rage points from the other party.

He retracted his sword before laying Po Zhongyou’s corpse down on the branch. He started off by searching the latter’s body, but there were only some dry rations and recovery medicine. The bow he wielded seemed to be quite decent, but it was a pity that Zu An didn’t know archery.

He took a look at the arrows Po Zhongyou had in his quiver, but they snapped fairly easily once he exerted some force on them. It was clear that the quality of those arrows was far beneath those he had obtained from the zombie army. He couldn’t bother to keep inferior products with him, so he tossed it aside too.

“Damn it, it’s yet another poor bloke!” Zu An cursed.

Why are these cultivators so poor? At least Shit Shangfei had some silver pieces on him, but this Poo Zhongyou has nothing of value at all!

He was just about to toss Po Zhongyou’s body down when he suddenly changed his mind. Trash can have value as well if put to good use.

So, he lifted Po Zhongyou’s body and began flitting in the direction of where the saber user had headed off to earlier. The saber user was the weakest one of the other three, so he should be fairly easy to deal with.

… 

Meanwhile, at the northern area of the forest, Shi Zhenxiang was marching forward warily with a saber in hand, scanning the area thoroughly. However, he couldn’t find any traces of Zu An at all.

“Lil’ bro, I’ll definitely exact vengeance for you!” he murmured through gritted teeth.

He was none other than the elder brother of Shi Shangfei.

The two of them were orphans, and they were each other’s pillar of support. They went through all sorts of grueling training in their earlier years, and they had accomplished numerous difficult missions too. They were promised that if they could accomplish this mission from young master Shi, they would be granted the freedom to go wherever they wanted to.

Who could have thought that things would turn out like this?

It was just yesterday that they were reminiscing on their childhood while sitting before the setting sun, dreaming about the fruitful life they would have ahead of them. His younger brother even said that it would best if the two of them could marry two sisters, so they would be able to remain close with one another.

But all of it had come to naught!

“That bastard Zu An! I’ll slice you into pieces!” Shi Zhenxiang swore.

You have successfully trolled Shi Zhenxiang for +876 Rage!

All of a sudden, he heard footsteps sounding behind him. He immediately turned around to take a look, only to see Po Zhongyou waving to him. He heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Didn’t our leader ask you to camp there? Why did you suddenly come here?”

Shi Zhenxiang couldn’t help but notice that Po Zhongyou’s eyes were glaringly wide, and he wondered if the latter’s eyes had gone bad from practicing his archery too much.

“I saw a silhouette running in this direction, so I came over to take a look.” Zu An stood behind Po Zhongyou, holding up the latter’s body while speaking in a deeper, muffled voice. It wasn’t exactly identical to Po Zhongyou’s voice, but it was sufficient to dupe someone who wasn’t paying close attention.

“What? Zu An is here?” Shi Zhenxiang gripped his saber tightly as he hurriedly scanned his surroundings. “Great! I’ll be able to exact vengeance for my little brother then!”

Zu An had already known this saber user’s name from the earlier influx of Rage point, so he was able to deduce right away that he was Shit Shangfei’s older brother. I must say, what’s wrong with their parent’s heads? Why the hell did they give them such names? One is called Shi Shangfei (Flying Shit) and the other one is called Shi Zhenxiang (Shit Smells Nice)?

“Why are you heading toward my side? We should split up so as to widen our search radius!” Shi Zhenxiang noticed that Po Zhongyou was walking in his direction, so he immediately harrumphed in displeasure.

Hm? Wait a moment, why is his walking posture so weird? Also, that voice earlier on… 

While Shi Zhenxiang was in the midst of making sense of those incongruencies, a black silhouette suddenly charged in his direction. He instinctively pulled his saber upward and sliced the black silhouette into two. It was only after the black silhouette fell to the ground did he belatedly realize that it was Po Zhongyou. His eyes immediately widened in disbelief, “A-ah? Why would it be you…”

What left him even more confused was that even though Po Zhongyou was slightly weaker in close-quarter combat as an archer, the latter wasn’t so weak as to be killed by him in a single strike.

It was at this moment of confusion that a cold glint shot straight for his neck.

This time around, the one who was confused was Zu An instead. He was confident that his sword would be able to plunge into Shi Zhenxiang’s neck, but to his astonishment, he found himself unable to push his sword in, as if there was invisible armor around the latter’s neck.

He suddenly remembered that third rank cultivators were capable of ki emanation. They could manifest their ki around their body to form an armor so as to guard against attacks. The higher one’s cultivation rank was, the greater the defensive prowess and area of the ki armor.

This was also one of the decisive advantages that higher-ranked cultivators had over lower-ranked cultivators. Sometimes, a lower-ranked cultivator might not even be able to pierce through the ki armor of a higher-rank cultivator in battle, making it hardly a fight at all.

But of course, the manifestation of ki armor was extremely consuming on one’s ki, so no one would keep it on at all times. This gave lower-ranked cultivators a chance to defeat higher-ranked cultivators.

It was for the same reason that Zu An was able to defeat the fifth rank Yuan Wendong and kill the fourth rank Po Zhongyou. He had caught them off guard, such that they couldn’t even activate their ki armor in time.

After Shi Zhenxiang blocked off Zu An’s assassination attempt, he immediately launched a counterattack by bringing his upraised saber downward. 

In face of the attack, Zu An quickly back his sword to fend against the saber, but the terrifying might coming from the saber knocked the sword out of his hands. He was forced to hurriedly retreat a few steps to recover his momentum.

However, Shi Zhenxiang had no intention of letting Zu An catch a breather. He continued charging forward to pressure him. “You son of a bitch, I nearly fell for your trap! Hah, you’re a goner now!”

They were around ten meters away, but Zu An felt as if the saber was right in front of him. He quickly rolled sideward to dodge the attack, making him look rather unkempt.

It was the correct decision, for the tree that was just behind him earlier was split into two by Shi Zhenxiang’s invisible saber ki.

Zu An’s heart jolted in fright. Third rank cultivators could only manifest ki around themselves for protection whereas fourth rank cultivators could exert their ki further outward to launch an attack. This meant that his enemy was, to some extent, capable of long-ranged attacks too, making him a far greater threat than he had initially expected.

Shi Zhenxiang quickly followed up with a series of attacks, chasing Zu An around the place as he laughed heartily, “You don’t even have your weapon on your hand now; how do you expect to compete with me? I’ll tear your flesh out and exact vengeance for my little brother!”

“What are you talking so much nonsense for?” sneered Zu An. 

With a furious outburst of speed, he suddenly charged forward with astonishing speed, arriving right before Shi Zhenxiang in the blink of an eye. 

Zu An’s sudden approach scared Shi Zhenxiang out of his wits. While he was slightly distracted earlier with his words, he had been continuously swinging his saber to pressure Zu An, and his eyes had never looked away from Zu An at any point. Yet, the latter actually managed to bypass his saber and arrive right in front of him without him knowing how!

Just like that, the tables were turned. The two of them were so close that Shi Zhenxiang’s saber was behind Zu An. At least for this very instant, his saber was rendered completely useless.

On the other hand, Zu An was holding onto a black arrow, and he was in the midst of thrusting it toward Shi Zhenxiang’s wrist.

When Shi Zhenxiang finally caught a good glimpse at the weapon Zu An was holding, disdain surfaced in his eyes. Arrows had to be shot from a distance in order to gain momentum for a powerful strike. Using it as a dagger at close-range would only greatly discount its prowess.

Not to mention, he also had his ki armor to protect him too. While he was caught off guard by Zu An’s mysterious approach, the difference in their cultivation rank meant that there was no way Zu An could breach his defense.

However, barely a moment after those thoughts surfaced in his mind, he felt an excruciating pain stabbing into his wrist. A wintry chill flowed in through his wrist and diffused throughout his entire body, making him shudder uncontrollably. He felt like his entire body had been encased in ice.

Following that, he felt stabbing pain coming from his hands and legs, and before he knew it, he had already crashed down onto the ground, unable to get up anymore.

“You severed my tendons!” Shi Zhenxiang immediately realized what was going on, and he exclaimed in horror.

You have successfully trolled Shi Zhenxiang for +999 Rage!

Zu An looked at him apologetically. “I’m sorry, but you were simply too strong. For my own safety, I have to be more thorough.”

“…” Shi Zhenxiang.

The hell! So the reason why you’re callously crippling me is because I’m too powerful?

You have successfully trolled Shi Zhenxiang for +666 Rage!

However, Shi Zhenxiang soon came to terms with it. He had been raised as a death soldier whose only worth lay in his ability to accomplish dangerous missions, even at the expense of his life. He knew that he was already a goner at this point, but there was just one last question that continued to linger in his head.

“Where did that arrow in your hand come from? Why is it able to breach my ki armor?”

“I picked it up on the floor,” replied Zu An with a smile.

He had thought that these arrows harnessed extraordinary power from the very start. After all, these were the arrows that had killed the monstrously resilient zombies with ease. It was for that reason that he thought of using it to breach Shi Zhenxiang’s ki armor, and to his relief, it worked out well.

However, he noticed that the arrow in his hand had lost some of its magnificent lustre after being used. It looked like there was a usage limit to it.

“…” Shi Zhenxiang.

Do you take me for a three-year-old child? A weapon that you picked up off the street was able to breach my ki armor?

You have successfully trolled Shi Zhenxiang for +250 Rage!

“Now, how should I deal with you?” Zu An squatted down and asked.

“Kill me if you want, but don’t even dream about getting anything out of me!” Shi Zhenxiang harrumphed coldly. His only regret here was his failure to exact vengeance for his younger brother.

“I’ll be merciful and give you a chance here. You can do whatever you want, but as long as you can survive a strike from my dagger, I’ll let you off. How does that sound?” Zu An began whipping out Poisonous Prick as he spoke. 

“Are you serious?” Shi Zhenxiang knew that there was definitely a loophole here, but his innate desire to live still compelled him to take on Zu An’s offer.

“Of course! I’ve crippled your limbs earlier, but I didn’t cripple your cultivation. You should still be able to use your ki armor, right?” said Zu An with a benevolent smile.

He had intentionally spared Shi Zhenxiang earlier because he wanted to use the latter to try out the prowess of his tools.

Shi Zhenxiang glanced at the quiver Zu An was carrying as his face darkened. “You’re just toying with me here. That arrow you used earlier was able to penetrate through my ki armor easily. I don’t stand a chance at all.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t be using those arrows,” said Zu An. “You should have noticed how my arrow lost its lustre after being used. Each of them can only be used once before being rendered ineffective, and I only have that few of them left. Why would I waste them on you?”

Shi Zhenxiang was stunned. Those words sounded credible to him. It was indeed not worthwhile to waste something as valuable as those arrows on a cripple like him. “Very well, I’ll agree to your challenge. I hope that you can hold the end of your promise.”

He channeled his ki and formed a translucent armor around his body. Hmph, you were only to get the better of me because your arrow has the ability to pierce through my ki armor. Don’t even think that you can do the same with that lousy dagger of yours!

On the other hand, Zu An was in no rush to make his move. He began asking leisurely, “Are you on good terms with your younger brother?”

“Of course!” replied Shi Zhenxiang.

It looks like this fellow had useless compassion in him. As long as I survive this ordeal, even if I can’t recover from my injuries and exact vengeance personally, I’ll use all of the wealth I’ve amassed to hire an assassin to kill him! 

Zu An nodded in realization. He raised Poisonous Prick up high and plunged it downward. Before Shi Zhenxiang’s incredulous gaze, the dagger pierced through his ki armor as if it was no more than a slab of tofu before slightly piercing into his skin.

Zu An was intending to see how effective Poisonous Prick was on a cultivator’s ki armor, as well as the effectiveness of its sure-death effect on high-rank cultivators. It might have worked on his previous opponents, but there was no guarantee that it would continue working on stronger enemies too.

Shi Zhenxiang was shocked when his ki armor was breached, but he saw that the dagger had barely scraped his skin, he heaved a sigh of relief. He was just about to say something when his body suddenly shuddered. Before he knew it, he was already plunged into endless darkness.

Right before his death, the last words he heard were, “Since the two of you are so close to one another, why don’t you join him in hell then? A family should stay together through tough times, no?”

You have successfully trolled Shi Zhenxiang for +1024 Rage!

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