Chapter 164: Choice

“What are you in a daze for? Hurry up and beam that light on them!” the feminine voice lectured. She was displeased with how he was losing his focus at such a critical moment.

Zu An finally snapped out of his daze. He quickly raised his flashlight and aimed it at the terracotta soldiers before him.

Under the glaring radiance of his flashlight, the vibrant colors on the terracotta soldiers began fading at a visible pace. They had been charging forward mightily a moment ago, but without a shred of hesitation, all of them turned tail to flee in the presence of the flashlight. Some of them even tripped over in a moment of anxiety.

The huge contrast between how they acted before and after made the scene appear quite ludicrous. They quickly returned back to their original position and turned their heads around, acting as if they couldn’t see or hear anything at all.

The blue light in their eyes also quickly receded. It was almost as if they had returned back into lifeless sculptures.

“Looks like it’s in the instinctive nature of all lifeforms to oppress the weak and fear the strong.” Zu An continued directing his flashlight toward the terracotta soldiers, but none of them reacted at all.

However, Rage points was still steadily flowing into his system.

You have successfully trolled the Terracotta Soldiers for +6 +6 +6 +6… 

If not for the fact that Chu Chuyan is in a bad condition, I’d stand here and suck all of your Rage points dry!

Seeing that the terracotta soldiers no longer posed a threat for the time being, he quickly made his way over to the lake. It was only in proximity that he realized that the green plants floating were all lotus leaves, nearly covering nearly the entire lake. The faint green light he saw earlier on came from them.

What was different about these lotus leaves was their glistening verdant exterior that greatly resembled jade. Interestingly, the huge cluster of lotus leaves surrounded a small lotus flower that sat at the very center of the lake.

Despite the sombre environment in the cavern, a divine and beautiful lotus was in full bloom. Its petals were snowy in color, resembling the beautiful fingers of a lady. At the center of its petals was a yellowish core that emanated a mysterious glow that resembled the stars in the sky.

Zu An was delighted. This must be the medicine that the mysterious voice was talking about. He was just about to head over and harvest it when he suddenly froze in place. He realized that the lotus had suddenly vanished from view, leaving behind just its verdant leaves around.

Is there someone else around? Is that person’s cultivation rank so high that I couldn’t even see his movements?

Zu An quickly scanned his surroundings, but there was no one else to be seen other than the terracotta soldiers. At that moment, he felt like his body had been plunged into icy water. I came so far, only to be foiled at the last moment. Am I doomed to watch helplessly as Chu Chuyan loses her life?

“What are you doing? Isn’t the lotus still at the same spot?” Noticing Zu An’s crestfallen expression, the feminine voice spoke up once again.

Taken aback, Zu An quickly raised his head to take another look, but mysteriously, the lotus had reappeared at the same spot where he last saw it.

“Huh? What’s going on?” Zu An rubbed his eyes in confusion, only to see that the lotus had disappeared once again. This time, instead of averting his gaze, he chose to stare intently on the same spot.

As he had expected, the lotus reappeared once more a few seconds later!

It seemed like the lotus possessed the mysterious ability to phase out of appearance.

All of a sudden, he remembered what Ji Dengtu had said to him, and his face warped in astonishment. With a slightly bitter voice, he asked, “By any chance, is it possible that this lotus is called ‘Evanescent Lotus?”

“Indeed, it’s called Evanescent Lotus,” the feminine voice replied.

Zu An’s breathing immediately hastened. He had finally stumbled upon what he had been searching all this while! However, still unable to believe his luck, he asked, “I heard that the Evanescent Lotus blooms once every thousand years, and its flower only remains for several hours each time around. How long has this flower bloomed for?”

His voice was quivering in fear, as if he was afraid that the lotus would wither in the next moment.

“While the Evanescent Lotus does take a long time to bloom, it doesn’t take a thousand years. Also, this flower is a little special. You need not worry about it withering,” replied the feminine voice.

“It won’t wither? How can that be possible?” Zu An was stunned. That was different from what he had heard from the others.

“Due to the environment this lotus grew up in and several other factors, it’s different from the other ‘Evanescent Lotuses’,” the feminine voice said. “Do you want to slowly discuss this with me or save your companion first? I can sense her life force gradually extinguishing. In around sixty seconds, she’ll die for good.”

“Are there any other Evanescent Lotuses here?” Zu An asked hurriedly.

“Other Evanescent Lotuses? Hah, it’s already a huge blessing that you were able to find this one, but you’re still hoping to find more here?” the feminine voice harrumphed. “You need not worry. This one is more than enough to save her. If she manages to repair her ki meridian, she can even raise her cultivation by an entire rank right away!”

“The Evanescent Lotus cannot repair her ki meridian?” Zu An was stunned. He didn’t expect this medicine to only be able to preserve her life. For someone as proud as Chu Chuyan, there was no way she could bear living as a cripple for the rest of her life.

“This woman must have used a forbidden art far beyond her means to end up in such a state. It wouldn’t be a forbidden art if one didn’t have to pay a price for it,” remarked the feminine voice.

Zu An’s face darkened. Had it been any treasure, no matter how formidable it would be, he would have unhesitatingly used it to save Chu Chuyan. 

But this was Evanescent Lotus, the treasure he had been searching hard for all this while!

Being sealed down there really shattered his pride and dignity, and he couldn’t bear to allow himself to remain in this state. He knew that it was already a huge stroke of luck that he was able to stumble upon this Evanescent Lotus, and if he missed this opportunity, it was unlikely that he would ever find another one in his lifetime.

If so, he could only hope that he would one day reach Master rank and dispel the seal using his own power. Now that he was finally a cultivator, he knew how difficult it was to raise his cultivation rank. Even at the very least, he felt that it would take him fifty years to reach Master rank.

But he would have already turned into an old man by then! What was the use of unlocking ‘little Zu An’ when he was already a step in the grave?

Besides, there was no guarantee that he would ever reach Master rank. After all, cultivation was not just all about hard work. There was also a chance that he might never get to regain his functions as a man.

And most importantly of all, the Evanescent Lotus couldn’t repair Chu Chuyan’s meridians. Even if he saved her, she would have to live her life as a cripple. She might be thankful to him, but how long would her gratitude last?

If she were to meet a man that was far more outstanding than him in the future, what would become of him?

He wouldn’t be able to say a thing at all, for he couldn’t even fulfill his basic duties as a husband. Women had physical needs that needed to be satisfied too. Having read all kinds of adultery cases in his previous life, he couldn’t neglect the possibility of Chu Chuyan leaving him for another man.

He would be doing a noble deed now by saving her, but could he really confidently say that he wouldn’t regret it when she scorned him for his impotence and ended up getting together with another man?

He lowered his gaze to look at the sickly Chu Chuyan, then he clenched his fists tightly. He gently put her down before hurriedly leaping across the lake to pluck the Evanescent Lotus out.

… 

Back to Shi Kun and Qiao Xueying’s side, they were currently encircled by an army of zombie swordsmen.

These zombie swordsmen were incensed by how Zu An undermined them earlier, but the blinding light he emanated earlier on was so terrifying that they instinctively dared not to exact vengeance on him. So, they could only vent their rage on the two remaining victims with them. In their view, the humans had come to this cavern together, so they were all comrades.

The ones to suffer the aftermath of Zu An’s taunting was, needless to say, Shi Kun and Qiao Xueying. For some reason, the zombie axemen, spearmen, and swordsmen suddenly seemed to be stronger than before.

In the first place, the two of them were already approaching their limits, placing them in a very dangerous position.

While Shi Kun was cursing Zu An furiously in his mind, Qiao Xueying said, “Young master, we shouldn’t remain here any longer. Let’s return to the surface.”

Shi Kun fell silent. To be honest, he felt indignant to retreat just like that. He had lost so many of his lackeys and used his most treasured trump card, but even so, he was still unable to attain Chu Chuyan.

However, he also understood that it was meaningless for them to remain here. They couldn’t even deal with the zombie soldiers before them, let alone venture any deeper from here.

Unlike Zu An, they didn’t have a tool that could repel the zombies.

Goddamnit, why does Zu An have so many weird artifacts on him?

You have successfully trolled Shi Kun for +345 Rage!

“Alright, let’s head out now and camp outside the tomb. They can’t possibly camp there their whole life!” Shi Kun harrumphed.

He had already made up his mind to snatch Chu Chuyan over and take away all of Zu An’s treasures. Why choose when he could have it all?

The two of them slowly retreated while fending against the zombie soldiers. When they were just about to return back to the passageway, a terrifying pressure suddenly crushed down within the area.

Shi Kun and Qiao Xueying’s face warped in horror. Without any hesitation, they tried to channel all of the ki they had and run away. However, for some reason, their ki simply wouldn’t heed their control. They found themselves frozen on the spot, unable to move at all.

A black fog arose in the center of the room, and a black-armored general riding on a steed slowly appeared amidst the black fog. All of the zombie swordsmen, zombie spearmen, zombie axemen, and zombie archers immediately halted their attack and bowed down to pay respects to it.

Qiao Xueying found her heart beating rapidly. 

The aura emanated by the black-armored general is even more terrifying than the Devouring Kun the young master summoned earlier. On top of that, the fact that the zombie soldiers are bowing down to it shows that it has the ability to command lower-level soldiers. There’s no way we would stand a chance against it!

The black-armored general glanced at the duo, and astonishingly, it began uttering human speech, “Hah! Two weaklings had the lot of you terrified to such an extent?” 

Its voice was hoarse like the vilest demons in the innermost depths of hell.

The zombie soldiers quickly tried to explain the situation, producing some bizarre noises while making some gestures. It would appear that their lacking intelligence disallowed them from speaking.

However, the black-armored general listened to their words and muttered to itself, “There are still two more of them, and one of them is holding onto an artifact that releases terrifying light…”

It swept the surroundings and noticed the body of Shi Kun’s lackey pinned on the wall. With a wave of its hand, the corpse flew into its grasp. “He might be dead, but we shouldn’t waste his flesh and blood.”

As it said those words, the corpse began to dry up at a terrifying rate. In just a few seconds, all that was left of it was a ball-sized leftover that seemed to be made up of a mishmash of bone and flesh.

“The scent of fresh blood is ever so alluring.” The black-armored general tossed the ‘ball’ to the side as it moaned in pleasure, as if it hadn’t felt so exhilarated in a long time now.

Shi Kun gulped fearfully. 

This is too terrifying! That fellow actually feeds on human flesh and blood! Am I going to die in this darned place? Had I known earlier, I wouldn’t have used Devouring Kun in a fit of recklessness earlier. Now I don’t stand a chance against that monster anymore.

With such thoughts in mind, he began cursing the culprit who had led him into this situation.

You have successfully trolled Shi Kun for +777 Rage!

The black-armored general finally turned his gaze upon the two of them, and it said, “So, which of the two of you should I dine in to first?”

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