Chapter 157: Diving Right Into Danger

Shi Kun was dumbfounded. Is he committing suicide because he can’t win? Well, that works in my favor too.

His two fourth rank cultivators also heaved a sigh of relief. To be honest, they wouldn’t want to face Zu An if they had a choice too. Even though the latter was a third rank cultivator, he was incredibly tough to deal with, not to mention those bizarre skills he had up his arse. 

In Zu An’s embrace, Chu Chuyan felt droplets of blood splattering on her body. With disbelief reflected in her eyes, she muttered anxiously, “W-what are you doing?”

Why is he trying to kill himself instead? Is he trying to do a lovers’ suicide because he was unable to save me?

Perhaps it was due to the years of bond they had as master and servant, Chu Chuyan actually had the same thoughts in mind as Qiao Xueying.

A tinge of redness surfaced on Chu Chuyan’s pale face as she said, “You need not do this. We’re not…”

Before she could finish his words, Zu An had already interjected, “We can whisper sweet nothings later. For now, let me kill these hateful fellows first.”

With one hand holding onto Chu Chuyan to keep her body leaned toward him, Zu An brandished the sword in her other hand and bellowed furiously, “Have a taste of my forbidden art, Return of the Myriad Swords!”

Everyone was still trying to make sense out of Zu An’s bizarre behavior when he suddenly shouted out loud, causing the crowd to recoil in fear. They had just witnessed Chu Chuyan’s forbidden art destroyed the Devouring Kun in a single strike, so they were particularly sensitive toward the words ‘forbidden art’ at this very moment.

Considering Zu An’s earlier bizarre behavior and the sudden imposing aura he was giving off, even Shi Kun instinctively decided to back down for the time being to assess the situation before deciding what to do next.

While everyone was putting their guard up against Zu An, the latter tossed his sword aside, picked up Chu Chuyan, and fled.

“???” Shi Kun.

“???” Qiao Xueying.

“???” The two fourth rank lackeys.

Everyone was stunned for a brief moment before it finally dawned on them that they had fallen from Zu An’s feint. The latter was just trying to intimidate them so as to buy some time for his escape! Knowing that they had fallen for such a cheap trick made the crowd tremble in fury.

You have successfully trolled Shi Kun for +666 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Fourth Rank Lackey A for +233 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Fourth Rank Lackey B for +233 Rage!

Qiao Xueying looked at Zu An fleeing silhouette with a complicated look on her face. She couldn't give a damn about Zu An’s life and death, but she couldn’t help but be worried for Chu Chuyan. On one hand, she was relieved that the young miss managed to get away, but on the other, she was worried that Zu An didn’t have the ability to treat her. This plunged her into a state of dilemma.

“Chase them!”

The infuriated Shi Kun ordered with a roar before darting forward nimbly. As a wind element cultivator, his speed was significantly enhanced as compared to his peers. Given the disparity in their cultivation ranks, as well as the fact that Zu An was holding onto a person in his arm, he should have been able to catch up with Zu An in just a few seconds. Yet, to his bewilderment, he had only managed to close the gap slightly even after chasing for quite a while.

Chu Chuyan was initially perplexed by Zu An’s act of self-harm, but when he fled with her in his arms, she immediately understood what was going on. For a moment there, she found herself admiring his sharp wits. However, no matter what kind of ingenious plan he came up with, the disparity in their cultivation ranks made it impossible for him to turn the tables on Shi Kun.

“Let me down. You might still be able to get away if you escape alone.”

“Shut up! How can I leave you to the lurch?” replied Zu An grimly.

Under the effects of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra, as long as he accumulated a certain degree of damage, his ki would go into a berserk mode, causing a significant enhancement in his strength and speed.

It was using this trump card that he managed to curb Pei Mianman and Qiao Xueying back then, though he understood that these two women had gone easy on him out of other considerations. They were probably afraid of alerting the experts of the Chu clan, so they opted for a physical brawl instead, which allowed him to stand his own against them.

If they had used their elemental powers, they would surely have been able to defeat a low level cultivator like him with ease.

Now that they were in the dungeon, there was no reason for Shi Kun and Qiao Xueying to hold back anything against him. While Zu An was in a strengthened state from the effects of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra, he knew that he wouldn’t be a match for them.

He chose to harm himself and trigger the effects of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra not to raise his fighting prowess but to enhance his speed for escape. That was also why Shi Kun hadn’t been able to chase up with him thus far.

“We won’t be able to get away,” remarked Chu Chuyan with a deep sigh. 

She didn’t know what kind of secret art Zu An had used in order to increase his speed, but Shi Kun was a fifth rank wind element cultivator. The difference in fundamental speed between them was as clear as day. It was only a matter of time before Zu An got caught.

“There’s a place where there might still be a glimmer of hope,” said Zu An as he gazed at the small hill not too far away.

He hadn’t been just blindly running away and hoping for the best. All this while, he was thinking about what he could do in order to get out of this quandary, but none of his skills and trump cards were working at all. Furthermore, it didn’t seem like reinforcement was coming, or else the massive commotion earlier on would have already drawn someone over. He figured that it might be due to the terrifying emergence of the Devouring Kun that everyone was choosing to keep their distance.

Given so, there was only one way out—dive right into the depths of danger to create an opportunity.

He had witnessed with his own eyes those terrifying zombies marching into the hill, but Shi Kun’s group lacked that information. If he lured them there, he might just be able to find a way out of it.

Of course, he understood how frightening the zombie army was. The odds were likely that he and Chu Chuyan would die in their hands too, but doing nothing at all guaranteed certain death too. At least they still stood a glimmer of hope over with the zombies. Besides, it didn’t sound like too bad of a deal if he could pull his enemies down to the grave together with him. 

Welp, I guess humans buy lottery for a reason. As long as they luck out, everything would be smooth-sailing. I mean, what’s a life without dreams?

By then, the pursuers behind them were already pressing closer. Shi Kun’s teasing voice sounded, “Hah! Run as fast as you can; I sure would like to see where you intend to run to! The moment you run out of ki is the moment of your death!”

He had made sure to keep tabs of the whereabouts of the academy’s teachers before confronting Zu An and Chu Chuyan, so he knew that everyone else was a far distance away from them at the moment. They wouldn’t be able to get here any time soon whereas all he needed was five minutes in order to catch up with Zu An.

“Snow, stop him!” Seeing that there was a forest ahead, Shi Kun bellowed.

Qiao Xueying hesitated, but she eventually still waved her wrists, and the trees before Zu An seemed to come immediately to life. All sorts of vines began darting toward his leg, attempting to trip him over.

Zu An had fallen for this trick once and learned from his previous lesson. He immediately executed Sunflower Phantasm to the limits and dodged everything coming his way.

For some reason, he felt that there were more openings in the assault of the vines than the previous time.

Shi Kun’s face darkened. Naturally, he could tell that Qiao Xueying was intentionally going easy on the two of them, but at this juncture, he chose not to say anything about it.

Wind God Dash!

Shi Kun’s legs began moving so quickly that they turned into a blur, raising his movement speed by a great deal. This movement skill was extremely harsh in terms of ki depletion, so he would avoid using it unless the situation necessitated it.

Hearing the ‘whoosh’ behind him, Zu An knew right away that Shi Kun was going to attempt something. So, he sidestepped in an attempt to dodge the attack, but it was too late. Shi Kun’s sword had already struck his back.

“Hm?”

Shi Kun expected his sword to plunge right through Zu An’s chest, but instead, he felt a huge counterforce pushing back the tip of his sword. It was then that he realized that Zu An was wearing an armor underneath!

He would have never thought that this poor bloke would actually have such a powerful armor, resulting in his attack which should have been enough to penetrate Zu An’s chest to barely sink in by an inch. By the time he attempted to increase the force, Zu An had already run off.

Shi Kun harrumphed coldly. I’ve already caught up with you. Where else do you think you can escape to?

Under the buff of Wind God Dash, his speed was at least 20% faster than Zu An. On top of that, the other party was holding onto a person in his embrace and didn’t have a sword anymore. If he couldn’t even take down Zu An with such an overwhelming advantage on his side, he would really be utterly inept!

Shi Kun directed his sword toward Zu An’s legs, thinking that it would be an easy fight once he severed the latter’s tendons and crippled him. 

However, Zu An abruptly flung his sleeves backward, and a shadow suddenly shot out from his wrist area.

Shi Kun could tell right away that it was a hidden crossbow. He remembered one of his lackeys having such a weapon. However, he didn’t think much of it as such weapons crossbows could only pose a threat toward low ranked cultivators. For a high level cultivator like him, the arrows wouldn’t even penetrate his ki armor.

So, he continued pushing his sword ahead, completely disregarding the arrow shot in his direction.

But just as his sword was about to pierce into Zu An’s leg, his body suddenly jolted. To his bewilderment, the arrow had actually pierced through his ki armor to sink into his shoulder. While the soft armor he was wearing had mostly cushioned the impact, limiting the injuries he sustained, he could feel a bizarre chill seeping into his wounds and spreading all over his body, causing him to shudder uncontrollably.

“What is this? Is the arrow laced with poison?” Shi Kun was shocked. He hurriedly drove his ki in order to drive off the coldness.

At the same time, Zu An abruptly turned around and attacked Shi Kun too. There was a pitch-black dagger in his grasp.

“Young master, be careful!” Qiao Xueying had experienced the prowess of the dagger herself, so she immediately shouted out a warning.

Shi Kun had suffered a bit from complacently thinking that he could use his ki to block the enemy’s arrow, so he wisely chose to face Zu An’s dagger directly this time around. He tossed aside his sword decisively and generated several wind blades to strike at Zu An.

The abrupt wind blades struck Zu An squarely, causing him to spurt blood. The strike had sustained significant injuries to him. On top of that, the obstruction of the wind blades closed up the temporary opening Shi Kun had revealed, giving the latter more than enough time to dodge his incoming attack. 

Seeing this, Zu An could only sigh helplessly and back away,.

The hidden crossbow was a weapon he had obtained from Jia Zhengjing’s group, but he replaced the normal arrows with the armor-piercing arrows he had obtained from the zombie army.

It was fortunate that the mechanism of the hidden crossbow was rather simple. All Zu An had to do was to trim down the length of the armor-piercing arrow and slot them into the crossbow for it to work. Thanks to it, he managed to catch Shi Kun off guard for a moment there.

But it was a pity that he didn’t manage to kill him in the end.

Zu An noticed that Qiao Xueying and the other two fourth rank cultivators were about to catch up, so he quickly turned around and continued fleeing.

Meanwhile, Shi Kun stopped momentarily on the spot to consume a recover medicine and expel the chilling aura that had seeped into his body with his ki. Then, he extracted the arrow from his chest and examined it with a frown. “Just what kind of arrow is this? How could it be this formidable?”

This wasn’t the time for him to be brooding too much over such matter. Zu An had already gotten a lead on him, so he quickly ordered his lackeys to continue the chase.

Eventually, Zu An finally arrived at the stone doors at the foot of the mysterious hill. Seeing that Shi Kun and the others were still hot on his heel, he gritted his teeth and began walking toward the stone doors.

Chu Chuyan had remained in his embrace throughout the chase. From where she was, she could clearly see his blood-soaked clothes and hear his furiously thumping heart and his erratic breathing. Slowly, her eyes that were previously clouded in despair began filling with something else.

Born with great talents, she had always been the tall figure who protected others under her wing. Yet, in a twist of fate, she found herself helplessly in the arms of a man who was desperately doing everything he could to save her. He could have run off by himself, but he refused to let go of her, a baggage who was dragging him down.

“Fool…”

Chu Chuyan silently murmured her evaluation of him before slowly closing his eyes.

Zu An was oblivious to the thoughts of the beauty in his arms. He ran over to the stone doors worriedly, fearing that he wouldn’t be able to open it. However, perhaps it was because the effect of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra had significantly enhanced his strength, this time, he was actually able to open a small crack that was enough for a person to slip in.

The pitch-black cavern that lay before him screamed of untold dangers. Zu An clenched his fists tightly before heading into the darkness.

… 

Not too long later, Shi Kun and the others finally arrived before the stone doors too. They could feel the chilling air coming from the cracks of the slightly ajar doors, and their eyes flickered in hesitation and trepidation. “What’s this place?”

“Hmph! If even Zu An can enter this place, is there any reason why we can’t? Chase him!” With a grand wave of his hand, he took the lead and charged right in. 

He had lost far too much today that he couldn’t give up at this juncture. 

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