Chapter 173: Earth Seal

It was then that a massive sword swiped down in Qiao Xueying’s way. Even from afar, she could already hear a thunderous rumble swiftly crescendoing the closer it came to her. The sheer force was so great that even if it could probably amputate a limb from the other copper giants, let alone her frail body.

Qiao Xueying’s first instinct was to dodge, but she was currently flying through the air with nowhere to pivot her body on. It was impossible for her to dodge at all. Seeing the sword growing bigger and bigger before her eyes, she sighed softly and closed her eyes, resigning herself to fate.

She was already tired of living anyway, so it didn’t seem too bad for her to die just like that. The only regret she had now was to be unable to see the breaking of three seals through and save the young miss. Will Zu An be able to do it alone?

The thought of Zu An made rage explode within her head. 

It’s all due to him that I’m dying right now! Will he even feel the slightest tinge of guilt toward me when he thinks about this in the future? Haa, I doubt so. How could that man possibly know of guilt?

“I bet that you’re cursing me right now.” 

A teasing voice suddenly sounded right beside her as Qiao Xueying felt herself falling into a warm embrace. She quickly opened her eyes, only to see Zu An staring at her, leaving her taken aback.

However, she quickly snapped out of her daze. She pointed right behind him and exclaimed, “Sword! Sword! …” 

She was so panicked that she couldn’t even construct a complete sentence properly.

A black shadow flashed across the air, and her hair was suddenly severed. Then, Zu An quickly pulled her several meters away, and by a close shave, she managed to avoid that incoming sword.

Feeling the frenzied shockwave caused by the massive sword that landed just several inches away from her, Qiao Xueying found her hair scattering messily all over her face. She stared at the man holding on to her with a dazed expression, her heart inexplicably thumping faster.

“What’s with this feeling? Why is my face turning red? Why is my heart beating so fast? Why am I reacting to this fellow…” Qiao Xueying’s mind was an utter mess.

“I saved your life again. We should be equals now, right?” said Zu An with a smile.

Qiao Xueying’s face reddened. She opened her mouth, but no word would come out.

“Are you feeling your heart beating fast? Do you feel an emotion you have never felt before engulfing your body?” Zu An suddenly dropped this question.

“S-so what if that’s the case!” Qiao Xueying blurted those words out so quickly that she regretted it right now. How could I have admitted to it? Damn it, this fellow is going to act all smug over it now!

Unexpectedly, Zu An replied, “You shouldn’t think that you’re in love with me just because of that. This is a perfectly normal occurrence. Using professional jargon, it’s called ‘Suspension Bridge Effect’. It’s perfectly normal for your heart to beat fast when crossing a dangerous suspension bridge, and if you coincidentally meet with another person then, you’ll mistake your physical reactions as a sign of affection for that person. But no, that’s not love.” 

“…” Qiao Xueying.

That long speech was more than enough to make her snap out of her unusual state. “Hah, of course! Even if I fall in love with a pig, a dog, or even a zombie, I’d never fall in love with a guy like you!”

You have successfully trolled Qiao Xueying for +111 Rage!

Zu An was speechless. Your words don’t look too credible with that little amount of Rage points you’re supplying me with. “Don’t worry, I won’t fall in love with a venomous little lass like you either.”

Despite the bicker, Zu An’s attention was still on the battle. Without any hesitation, he charged toward the copper giants with Poisonous Prick in hand.

Those copper giants had been tied together using the ‘rope’, and of course, Zu An didn’t expect Qiao Xueying to be able to trip them over with her strength. Instead, he tied the legs of those copper giants together, hoping that they would trip each other over with their own strength.

As their movements weren’t coordinated, with one heading one way and the other heading another, it didn’t take long for the first copper giant to trip over and fall. Like a set of dominos, more and more copper giants fell down to the ground.

Had the copper giants been normal humans, they would have tried to sever the hair wrapped around their ankles. With their astounding strength, it was likely that they would have been able to rip through Qiao Xueying’s resilient hair with ease. 

Unfortunately, it was clear that they were lacking in intelligence. They simply flailed their legs around in futility, unable to free themselves from the hair wrapped around their legs even to the very last moment.

Zu An made use of this opportunity to run to the nearest copper giant and stab Poisonous Prick into the center of their forehead.

At close proximity, he could feel more concretely than ever just how huge and powerful these copper giants were. Looking at their whopping heads and big eyeballs, he couldn’t help but feel a little intimidated. If Snow is wrong about this, I might really just meet my end here.

Puchi!

His dagger stabbed right into the copper giant’s forehead. However, due to the size of the giant’s head and short reach of the dagger, somehow, it looked more like a toothpick poking into someone’s head instead.

Feeling more and more uneasy about this, he quickly retrieved his dagger and backed away, fearing the copper giant’s retaliation.

To his surprise, the sharp glint in the copper giant’s eyes gradually dimmed before vanishing altogether. It had reverted back to a dead copper sculpture.

Delighted to see that it was effective, Zu An quickly used the Sunflower Phantasm to rush for the next copper giant. He plunged his dagger into the center of its forehead and retracted it before rushing to the next target… 

He was extremely efficient about this. In just a few seconds, he had already eliminated eleven of the copper giants. However, just as he was about to deal with the twelfth one, the final remaining copper giant suddenly roared furiously and successfully struggled free of the hair binding its leg. It climbed back up to its feet and smacked its palm down toward Zu An.

Seeing the twist in the situation, Zu An quickly changed his direction and retreated several meters away. The force of the palm was so great that even the shockwave might have been enough to end his life. Considering that he was already injured at the moment, he didn’t want to take this risk. 

In just a few short moments, the copper giant had managed to rise back to its feet. Looking at its collapsed comrades, it still felt a surge of anger despite its lacking intelligence. It roared furiously to the sky.

You have successfully trolled First Emperor’s Copper Giant No. 1 for +9 +9 +9… 

As expected of the number 1. The boss of the group is indeed much harder to deal with.

Zu An backed off to Qiao Xueying’s side, and he couldn’t help but notice that her long hair had been chopped off to barely ear length. He chuckled a little and remarked, “Say, wouldn’t it be interesting if my hand had slipped earlier and chopped off all of your hair?”

“On the account that you saved me earlier, I shan’t hold this one against you.” Qiao Xueying harrumphed. She patted her hair softly, and her short hair swiftly grew longer, even forming a ponytail on its own.

Zu An was dumbfounded. He couldn’t resist touching her newly-grown ponytail, remarking, “Oh? I didn’t think that you would have such a function. Must be convenient not to comb your hair every morning.”

Qiao Xueying shot a piercing glare at Zu An as she snatched her ponytail back. “Don’t you know that a man and a woman should keep some distance between each other?”

Zu An was amused by that remark. “We had far more intimate interactions than this in the past, and you’re suddenly talking about distance with me?”

Qiao Xueying’s eyebrows shot up. “You still dare to talk about that!”

Zu An burst into laughter. “Alright, let’s talk about serious matters. I need to extend your hair again. I’ll tie that big fellow up.”

The earlier long lock of hair had scattered all over the place due to the copper giant’s struggling, so Zu An couldn’t use it anymore.

Qiao Xueying was troubled by the request. “That wouldn’t do. I’ve exerted myself too much today, so I won’t be able to regrow it in the short-term.”

Earlier in the underground palace, she cut off a huge chunk of her hair because it was stained in bat’s blood, and another huge chunk of it was severed here. On top of that, she had been exerting herself all this while, so there was no way to replenish her lost energy. 

“What do we do then?” Zu An looked at the copper giant charging toward them with a contemplative frown.

“What are you blanking out for? Hurry up and dodge! We can think of another way later on!” exclaimed Qiao Xueying.

To her surprise, Zu An shook his head and replied, “Chuyan won’t be able to wait that long. I need to take care of it right now.”

Qiao Xueying rolled her eyes. “Stop bragging over here! If you can really take care of it right away, I’ll follow your… surname…” 

Before she could finish her words, Zu An suddenly vanished from the spot. The next moment, he was already right before the copper giant’s forehead, the black dagger in his hand plunged right into the center of its forehead.

The copper giant’s movements jolted from the sudden attack, and the light in its eyes gradually faded. Its body started falling frontward under the force of inertia.

Zu An quickly pulled out his dagger before pushing his leg against the copper giant’s head and leaped backward. The copper giant crashed heavily onto the ground, causing a cloud of dust to rise into the air.

Witnessing this grand sight, Qiao Xueying’s face reddened a little. Why does this fellow suddenly look a little charming?

“What did you say earlier?” asked Zu An as he made his way over to her side.

“N-nothing.” Qiao Xueying was relieved that he had moved too quickly to hear what she had said, or else she would have been placed in an awkward position. “How did you manage to do it?”

While his movement skill was formidable, it would at least still leave behind traces for one to track his movements. Yet, the earlier attack was so swift that it almost looked as if he had teleported right in front of the copper giant in a flash. 

“Curious?” asked Zu An as he leaned in toward her.

Qiao Xueying leaned backward unnaturally as she nodded her head, “Yeah.”

“Call me big brother, and I’ll let you in on the secret,” replied Zu An cheerfully. 

He had used Grandgale’s power earlier. Due to the earlier advancement in his cultivation, he had enough ki to barely use it thrice a day.

This skill was perfect for fleeing, dodging, and assassination, but his cultivation was simply too low at the moment that it was only useful for dealing with dumb oafs with the copper giants. If he tried using it on other high-rank cultivators, who possessed inhuman reflexes and all sorts of elemental abilities, the chances of a successful assassination would have been much lower.

Qiao Xueying simply ignored him. She was more concerned about something else here. “We should have cleared the Human Seal, right?” 

Right after she said those words, the twelve copper giants vanished in a burst of light. Then, the feeling of weightlessness shrouded the two of them once more as their surroundings blurred. Before they knew it, they were already back at the underground palace.

It was then that Qiao Xueying noticed that their hands were linked together, so she quickly shook it off.

Zu An shrugged casually, thinking nothing of it.

“Hm? I never thought that you would be able to clear the Human Seal,” Mi Li’s voice sounded. Her excitement was showing through her tone, as if she was finally seeing a ray of hope.

Barely after those words were spoken, the sealing formation beneath them suddenly opened up, causing them to fall to a deeper level beneath. 

Zu An noticed that there was another similar sealing formation on this deeper level, and he figured that it was the Earth Seal.

“The Earth Seal will be harder than the Human Seal. Do you want to rest a bit first before entering?” asked Mi Li.

Zu An shook his head and replied, “There’s no need for that.”

Chu Chuyan was still waiting for him outside, so they needed to make haste here.

Qiao Xueying also shared the same thought too. The two of them stood on the Earth Seal, not saying a word at all. Mysteriously, the two of them instinctively reached out in unison to hold each other’s hands.

The same feeling of weightlessness assaulted them. When they opened their eyes once more, they realized that they were in the midst of darkness. 

A frown formed on Zu An’s face as he remarked doubtfully, “Why are we still in the underground palace?”

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