Chapter 176: Desperation

Seeing that the footsoldiers were getting closer and closer, Zu An dared not to waste any more time. Knowing that Qiao Xueying was in no state to ride a horse by herself, he pulled her into his embrace and rode on the same steed together.

He grabbed a cloth and tied Qiao Xueying onto himself before squeezing his thighs on the horse, urging it to gallop toward the flank of the footsoldiers.

Qiao Xueying was deeply embarrassed by their amorous position, The two of them were currently sitting face-to-face on the steed. In order to prevent her from falling from the shakiness, Zu An had wrapped her thighs around his body, resulting in her sitting in his embrace.

It was fortunate that she was small in size, or else Zu An wouldn’t even be able to look at the road ahead of him.

Even though it was hard for her to accept it, she knew that this was the most logical solution out of the quandary they were in. If he had left her be, she would have been torn apart by those terracotta footsoldiers. She was simply too weak to ride on a horse herself, and even grabbing onto Zu An’s body was beyond her current means. This was the only position they could take for her not to hinder his movements by too much.

Still, it didn’t change the fact that this position was too humiliating! She was too embarrassed to even talk in such a position, so she simply leaned her head against his shoulder and feigned unconsciousness so as to avoid the awkwardness.

Meanwhile, Zu An wasn’t in any mood to enjoy the situation either. He was just glad that Qiao Xueying was light enough not to affect his movements by too much.

He skirted around the formation of the footsoldiers, searching for an opening to strike. 

When the footsoldiers noticed that he had moved to their flank, they immediately turned around to face him. However, this was within Zu An’s expectations. He continued circling around their formation while shining his flashlight in their direction, waiting for an opportunity to strike.

Initially, the archers were still firing their arrows in hopes of suppressing Zu An, but the horse was moving too fast for their arrows to land properly. On top of that, the archers couldn’t change their positions freely out of fear of the flashlight, so their maneuverability was severely limited.

As the formation of the terracotta soldiers fell into disarray, the archers gradually lost their coordination, making their arrows far less threatening than they were at the start.

Zu An galloped around the place with all sorts of fancy maneuvers, such as the famous ‘S’-shaped and ‘B’-shaped movements, but nevertheless, it was only to the point that he was about to puke from the twisting and turning he was doing that he finally saw a small opening he could capitalize on.

He immediately grabbed hold of the opportunity and charged straight forward, heading diagonally to the back of the footsoldiers’ formation, where the archers were hiding. He knew that he had to get rid of the archers first, or else their long-ranged attacks would be a huge problem once they regained their momentum.

The furious charge of the war steed scattered the archer formation, putting them in a flustered state.

Zu An leaped down from his horse while sending it straight into the footsoldiers’ formation to buy him some time. Using this opportunity, he morphed into a blur and reaped the lives of the archers in the vicinity.

These archers might be a huge threat from a distance away, but once Zu An managed to close the distance, they became no more than docile sheeps waiting to be slaughtered. They were far less skilled than footsoldiers and cavalrymen in close-quarter combat. On top of that, Zu An’s swift and unpredictable movement made it impossible for them to even nick his sleeves, let alone stop his rampage.

Meanwhile, Qiao Xueying continued hanging in front of him like a koala bear latching onto a tree. In order not to affect his movements, she gathered whatever that was left of her strength to hug him tightly.

She tried paying attention to his movement skill, hoping that she could figure out the crux behind it now that she was looking at it up close, but it only ended up making her giddy instead. So, she decided to turn her head away and just listen to the voices in the surroundings.

Somehow, listening to the clean sound of his dagger tearing through the bodies of the archers one after another sounded oddly pleasing.

It’s fortunate that the young miss isn’t around, or else his suaveness would have surely… 

A while later, the surroundings finally quietened down. All she could hear was Zu An’s heavy breathing. She opened her eyes to take a look, only to see that all of the archers had collapsed to the ground. However, Zu An had also sustained considerable injuries too. No matter how weak the archers were, they had a decisive numerical advantage, so they weren’t completely helpless against him.

Noticing that all of the wounds were on his back, Qiao Xueying’s heart jolted in shock. “You must have suffered a lot of injuries while protecting me.”

“I can’t possibly use you as a shield, right?’ Zu An shrugged. “Besides, I was the one who tied you in front of me. How embarrassing it would be for me if you were to get injured right before my eyes?”

Qiao Xueying bit her lips.

“Oh right, do you have any recovery medicine?” asked Zu An. 

He was already severely injured right from the start, and it was only thanks to the effect of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra that he was able to deal with the archers. However, the new injuries he had sustained further worsened his state, such that he could feel himself swiftly approaching his limits. 

It was good that he had managed to deal with the cavalrymen and archers, but there were still another 500 footsoldiers left. It was unlikely that he would be able to last to the end against them in his current situation.

“I don’t have any left,” replied Qiao Xueying guiltily.

She had been charging from battle into battle, suffering severe injuries one after another. She ended up having to pop a recovery medicine every now and then, resulting in the fast depletion of her medicine. 

“I guess I can only wish myself all the best.” Zu An took in a deep breath before charging toward the footsoldiers next. He held onto the Magical Flashlight in one hand, intending to use it to open up a path for himself, while tightening his grip around Poisonous Prick in the other.

Under normal circumstances, even a fifth rank cultivator like Shi Kun wouldn’t stand a chance against all of these terracotta soldiers, but there was still a small sliver of hope for Zu An here. Their formation had already fallen into chaos due to his earlier disruptions, allowing him to weave amidst them with his Sunflower Phantasm, and he could use the Magical Flashlight to curb the terracotta soldiers if he was placed in a dangerous position.

On the other hand, the terracotta soldiers were also enraged too. They never thought that their cavalry platoon and archer platoon would actually be wiped out by just two individuals. On top of that, the two individuals still dared to charge right into their formation. 

He really is looking down on us!

You have successfully trolled the Terracotta Soldiers for +9 +9 +9… 

The footsoldiers charged forward like a gushing wave, drowning Zu An out.

Using Sunflower Phantasm, Zu An skillfully dodged the attacks of the footsoldiers while sneaking in attacks here and there. If he really found himself cornered, he would randomly point the flashlight around, hoping to intimidate the footsoldiers so as to buy himself some room.

It was like a small piece of leaf floating in the midst of stormy waters. It looked as if it would sink at any moment, but it still continued to hold on against all odds.

Zu An couldn’t tell how long it had been, but his arms started to grow heavier and heavier. He was incredibly glad that his weapon was a dagger at this moment. While it was short, its light weight allowed for speedy maneuvers without taking too much of a toll on his stamina. If it had been a sword in his hands instead, there was no way he could have lasted this long.

Even so, it didn’t change the fact that his cultivation was only at the third rank. While both Sunflower Phantasm and the Elementary Swordplay didn’t consume too much ki to execute, there was still a limit to his ki capacity. After battling for so long, his ki was nearly on the verge of drying out.

Every strike that he made seemed to be ten times more arduous than usual.

He began to regret it. He should have spent all of his Rage points before entering the Earth Seal. Even if he didn’t obtain some sort of cheat artifact or skill, it would be good if he could get some Ki Fruit to raise his cultivation too.

He was just too fearful of exposing his Keyboard earlier. After all, Qiao Xueying was by his side and the unfathomably powerful Mi Li was keeping an eye on him. But if it could save his life, he would rather expose the existence of the keyboard to the rest of the world.

However, it was already too late for regrets. He was surrounded by enemies, and the slightest carelessness would result in his death. In such a situation, there was no way he could afford to multitask and draw the lottery simultaneously.

It was then that ten terracotta soldiers thrust their halberds toward him, and he quickly used Sunflower Phantasm to dodge to the side. Unfortunately, in his exhausted state, the area where he stopped ended up deviating slightly from where he intended to, resulting in him stepping on the broken leg of a terracotta soldier on the ground.

It was a fatal error. He lost his balance and fell sideward.

There was no way the terracotta soldiers would miss out on this golden opportunity. Multiple halberds immediately shot toward Zu An’s body right away.

In order to protect Qiao Xueying from knocking against the ground, he had instinctively positioned himself in a way such that her body was exposed on top, but this also meant that the halberds would stab into her first.

So, Zu An used his dagger to deflect two of the halberds, but there were two more that he couldn’t knock away in time. Left with no choice, he raised his left arm and blocked the remaining halberds for Qiao Xueying.

Pu!

Two halberds stabbed into his left arm, causing blood and flesh to scatter all around the air. Strength receded from his left hand, leaving him unable to maintain his grip on the flashlight anymore.

More terracotta soldiers marched up then, brandishing their halberds at him.

Knowing that he was really on the verge of death this time around, Zu An roared furiously as he severed the head of the halberds lodged into his arm with his dagger before rolling sideward with Qiao Xueying. This set of maneuver allowed him to dodge the attacks coming his way in this critical moment.

He continued to execute a series of Sunflower Phantasm to regain his momentum, but he was still unable to shake off the terracotta soldiers chasing after him. Left with no choice, he could only squeeze out the remnant of his ki to execute Grandgale one last time, allowing him to instantaneously move a hundred meters away and escape from the encirclement of the terracotta soldiers.

Despite having survived, he couldn’t bring himself to feel relieved at all. His ki was really completely depleted this time around, and he had lost the Magical Flashlight too. Perhaps it was due to the distance, he wasn’t even able to retrieve it back into the Keyboard.

On top of that, his vision was also beginning to blur. He knew that this was the side effect of having lost too much blood and the overwhelming fatigue.

“It looks like we’re really going to die here together…” murmured Zu An as he gasped for his breath. 

He couldn’t even find the strength within him to remain standing, so he slumped onto the ground and watched helplessly as the terracotta soldiers charged his way.

Unexpectedly, Qiao Xueying didn’t respond to him this time around. She stared at his profusely bleeding arm and the tips of the halberds still lodged into his flesh. 

She lowered her head and remarked softly, “You might have been able to defeat them if you didn’t bring me along with you.” 

Zu An shook his head and replied, “Even if I didn’t bring you along, I still wouldn’t be able to defeat so many of them. My cultivation is too low for me to deal with so many soldiers at once.”

Qiao Xueying’s eyes were still focused on his bleeding arms. “Why did you block that attack for me? You could have lasted a bit longer if you hadn’t done so.”

Zu An groaned in dismay as he remarked weakly, “Argh, it maddens me just to think about it. Indeed, why did I do that? It’s not like you’re my wife, so why did I even try to save you? If I had another chance to do things once over, I’d surely hurl you over to take the blow for me. Goddamnit, it angers me just to think about it…”

Looking at the remorseful attitude he was putting on, Qiao Xueying burst into laughter. “Really, you always come up with the most inappropriate responses to situations. It’s no wonder why you’re so hated.”

“Hey, I just saved your life, right? The least you can do is stop being so foul-mouthed…” rebuked Zu An.

Before he could finish his words, Qiao Xueying suddenly raised her head and planted her soft lips on his.

Zu An widened his eyes in shock. 

This time, he had to admit that her mouth didn’t taste foul at all. On the contrary, there was a hint of sweetness even.

However, he couldn’t understand why she would kiss him at a time like this. Could it be that she has been coveting my body for too long and couldn’t resist my charms anymore now that we’re already on the verge of death?

It was a long while before their lips parted away. Her pale cheeks flushed red. She was about to say something when Zu An suddenly exclaimed in horror, “That was my first kiss!”

“…” Qiao Xueying. 

You have successfully trolled Qiao Xueying for +999 Rage!

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