Chapter 161: Superficial Brothers

“How could you be in the mood to joke despite being in such a situation?” exclaimed Chu Chuyan.

Zu An dodged an attack coming from one of the zombie spearmen as he replied, “Since I’m already injured, shouldn’t I at least try to maximize whatever benefits I have for myself? Otherwise, I would just be getting hurt for nothing.”

“…” Chu Chuyan.

She was really having difficulties trying to catch up with Zu An’s leap in logic. Is this what a normal person should be thinking about in a situation like this?!

Despite Zu An's lackadaisical tone, he was already giving it everything he got. He hurriedly consumed a Blood Replenishment Pill to heal himself up, or else he would probably die right away if he were to be struck even once more.

A warm flow of energy gushed through his body and his limbs. While the rate of recovery wasn’t instantaneous like ‘Faith in Brother Spring’, it was still fairly fast by conventional standards. He could feel his injuries slowly closing up, and his mind felt invigorated once more.

Zu An was earnestly glad that Ji Xiaoxi had teamed up with him earlier on and given him so many precious medicines from Divine Physician Ji. Otherwise, he would have already died by now.

In any case, the recovery in stamina gave Zu An the strength he needed to continue his fight against the zombie spearmen. His arm was still persistently aching, but he forced himself to turn a blind eye to it and pushed himself. There were several times where his spear grew dull from overuse, and he would simply decisively toss away his spear and snatch a new one from his enemy’s hands.

Through sheer tenacity, he eventually managed to defeat the dozens of zombie spearmen around him.

Zu An stabbed the current spear he had on hand into the ground and leaned his body on it in order to remain standing. He was desperately gasping for air, and his chest was pumping up and down intensely. His face was reddened, and his hair was drenched in sweat, which dripped down on the beauty he was holding onto. 

Chu Chuyan took a good look at the man who was giving his all to protect her. She knew deep well that if not for him insistently holding onto her, he should have been able to escape easily with his formidable movement skill and speed.

Was this how it felt like to be protected by someone?

Zu An wasn’t exactly strong, but his persevering spirit and tenacity touched her heart. She had never been protected by a man in such a manner before. The sweat and blood that had soaked part of her cloak carried the thick scent of masculinity that made her heartbeat hasten.

Seeing that Zu An was looking at him, Chu Chuyan quickly averted her gaze.

“It’s fortunate that it was only this much. If there were any more zombie soldiers, I might not have been able to last until now,” said Zu An.

He immediately regretted raising that flag, for the sound of coordinated footsteps sounded once more right after he made that remark. He raised his head to take a look, only to see yet another platoon of zombie soldiers walking over. This time around, they weren’t equipped with spears but swords.

Sensing a far greater aura from them than from those zombie spearmen, Shi Kun’s face turned livid. “Zu An, you really have a foul mouth!”

You have successfully trolled Shi Kun for +666 Rage!

Zu An was also rendered speechless. 

First the zombie axemen, then the zombie spearmen, and now the zombie swordsmen. The hell, is this Civilization V? Bloody hell!

Zu An cursed under his breath, but he still slowly got to his feet. His hand was still trembling at the moment, not from fear but from having overexerted himself earlier on.

“Put me down! You might still stand a chance if you run away now. You have already saved me many times so far, and I’m earnestly grateful to you. However, there’s no need for you to persevere. Even if I don’t die in their hands, I also don’t have much time left to live. You don’t have to give up your life for me!” 

As the two of them were close together, Chu Chuyan could clearly sense his trembling body. She knew that he had already reached his limit and would die without a doubt before the assault of these zombie swordsmen.

“Say no more. You’re my wife, so how can I abandon you?” Zu An revealed a bitter smile. “Of course, if you wish to help me, you’re more than welcome to give me a kiss. You might just be able to unlock my hidden potential with that.”

“…” Chu Chuyan.

How can you still act like a ruffian at a time like this?

Zu An still wanted to continue elaborating on this topic, but those zombie swordsmen weren’t giving him any slack at all. They charged toward him with their swords in hand, moving at a speed that was a third faster than those zombie spearmen.

Astonished, Zu An quickly raised his spear to protect himself.

Bam! 

The spear and the sword collided with one another heavily. The powerful rebound from the impact nearly sent his spear flying from his hand.

Astonishingly, the individual prowess of these zombie swordsmen had actually reached the fourth rank!

Zu An should have been able to overpower them in terms of strength and speed in his berserk state, but due to his severe injuries and the earlier prolonged battle, his body was already utterly exhausted and weakened, which put him in no state to clash directly with these zombie swordsmen.

While he was clashing with the first zombie swordsman, the others flitted over to launch their attacks too. Zu An hurriedly swept his spear horizontally and barely managed to fend against their attacks with difficulty. Unexpectedly, one of the zombie swordsmen suddenly raised his leg and kicked him squarely in the chest, sending him flying three meters away.

The impact of the kick left the ki in Zu An’s body in disarray, rendering him powerless for a moment there. The nearby zombie swordsmen also had no intention of allowing him to recover either. They quickly charged forward to hack down on his body.

Zu An thought that it was the end, but a green silhouette suddenly appeared in front of him. She quickly weaved a massive net made out of vines, blocking off the swords coming from all around.

Taken aback, Zu An stared at the slender woman standing right before him.

Qiao Xueying glared at him and said, “What are you looking at me for? I’m not saving you! Anyway, you owe me two lives now!”

Zu An chuckled cheekily and replied, “Yes yes. It looks like there’s no other choice for me than to repay your magnanimity by betrothing myself to you.”

Qiao Xueying’s face reddened. While blocking off the attacks from the surrounding zombie swordsmen, she harrumphed furiously, “One of these days, I’ll make sure to rip off that stinky mouth of yours!”

You have successfully trolled Qiao Xueying for +233 Rage!

“You’ve never had a taste of it before. How do you know whether it’s stinky or not?” Zu An burst into laughter.

“…” Qiao Xueying.

“…” Chu Chuyan.

Unable to take it anymore, Qiao Xueying snapped, “If you have the strength to talk, hurry up and get up from there. I can’t hold on much longer!”

The zombies surrounding her and Shi Kun earlier numbered even more than Zu An’s, so she didn’t have it easy either despite her higher cultivation. It was true that the life force from her wood element cultivation was able to curb these zombies to a certain extent, the reverse was true as well. The deathly aura lingering in this cavern was also suppressing her prowess too.

Due to that, the difficult battle she had earlier had also nearly sapped her dry. Under the relentless sword slashes coming from all around, her vine began to slowly wither.

Just as the vines were about to collapse, Zu An suddenly stood up, and his spear morphed into a blur. In just an instant, he released over a dozen thrusts, piercing several zombie swordsmen closest to them dead.

“Y-you… How did you…” Qiao Xueying was shocked.

The strength and speed Zu An had exerted in that split moment were greater than what he had revealed thus far in the entire battle!

Zu An shrugged in response. “Well, I managed to make a breakthrough while I was fighting.”

One of the reasons why he was caught off guard earlier, other than the fact that his ki was in disarray, was because he realized that he had made a breakthrough.

Phoenix Nirvana Sutra allowed him to raise his cultivation by suffering hits, and he had sustained significant injuries over the course of the battle. The earlier heavy kick he suffered provided the last few golden specks required to fill his fourth formation.

The rise of every cultivation step could recover one’s vitality and injuries to some extent, providing Zu An with the strength needed for him to continue fighting at least for the moment.

“…” Qiao Xueying.

“…” Chu Chuyan.

“…” Shi Kun.

One must know that even making a breakthrough of a single cultivation step was incredibly difficult to even for prodigies like them. It was unthinkable to them that a person could actually make a breakthrough in the midst of a battle!

To make things worst, Zu An even spoke with a matter-of-fact tone, as if it was perfectly normal for everyone else. It made it seem like the effort they had put into advancing their cultivation rank had been in vain.

You have successfully trolled Qiao Xueying for +211 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Shi Kun for +444 Rage!

Looks like my wife is the best after all. She doesn’t get jealous of my rise in cultivation, unlike the other two. Hmmm? Why didn’t I receive any Rage points from the other fourth rank cultivator?

Curious, Zu An turned to look over at Shi Kun’s side, only to find that the only surviving fourth rank cultivator had been pinned on the wall. His body was filled with glaring wounds, which made it seem like he had been hacked to death. His eyes were widened large, a sign that he had died with many grievances.

Why is it that a third rank cultivator is able to hold his ground here whereas a proud late fourth rank cultivator like me ended up biting the dust? Goddamnit!

Zu An could roughly fathom the thoughts of the fourth rank cultivator in his final moments, but he had been too preoccupied with fighting the zombie soldiers on his side that he couldn’t spare any attention toward the system, so he didn’t know if the fourth rank cultivator had provided him with any Rage points.

All of a sudden, Zu An heard the sound of wind whooshing around him. The zombie swordsmen had begun swarming around him once more.

He quickly activated Sunflower Phantasm and treaded amidst the enemies. From time to time, whenever he spotted an opening, his spear would dart forth to launch a surprise attack.

Unfortunately, these zombie swordsmen were far more skilled than the earlier zombie swordsmen. Most of them were able to react on time to block his surprise attacks, and he had to trade at least ten blows before he could end his target’s life.

Shoosh shoosh… 

A sharp sound of something piercing through the air sounded. Zu An’s heart skipped a beat as he raised his gaze to take a look. Just as he had expected, several arrows were headed from different directions toward him and Chu Chuyan. 

There were around eight archers in the vicinity!

Zu An was able to deflect these arrows with his spear, but he could hardly feel relieved at all. The worst-case scenario had indeed happened.

He had witnessed the prowess of these zombie archers back in the valley. While there weren’t too many of them at the moment, their ability to coordinate with the zombie swordsmen made them a major threat. It would be nigh impossible to fight the archers and the swordsmen simultaneously.

Zu An’s worries were swiftly proved right.

Every time he was about to kill a zombie swordsman, an arrow would whiz in his direction, leaving him with no choice but to retract his spear and go on the defensive. And if he tried to go for the zombie archers first, the zombie swordsmen would swiftly tie him down with a barrage of attacks.

He had to weave around the zombie swordsmen using Sunflower Phantasm and use their bodies to hide from the zombie archers. He was still barely able to hold on for the time being, but now that his movements had become severely restricted, it had gotten far harder for him to launch counterattacks.

He knew that he would be a goner at this rate. If he lost focus for just a split moment, he would be either pierced by an arrow or hacked to death. Otherwise, he would also fall once he ran out of ki.

“Brother Shit, why don’t you come over and lend me hand? We’re on the same boat now. Why don’t we put aside our grievances so as to tide through this crisis together?” said Zu An.

He was a little perplexed as to why these arrows were aimed at him but not at Shi Kun. It was weird how these zombies were specifically coming after him.

On the other hand, Shi Kun had already noticed the situation over on Zu An’s side, and he said with a chuckle, “With Brother Zu’s formidable skills, I believe that dealing with those minions shouldn’t be an issue with you. I shan’t embarrass myself here.”

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