Chapter 188: Blood Tribute

Zu An quickly turned his head over, and his eyes lit up in excitement. If Mi Li looked graceful and seductive in her earlier court robes, her menswear made her look valiant and imposing. She was gallant like a man, yet tender like a woman. 

“Woah, you look a bit suaver than me, though you’re still lacking in the masculinity aspect. Overall, I’d say that you’re just a bit beneath me. At least the girls on the streets will barely notice your presence when you’re standing next to me,” remarked Zu An.

Mi Li was already starting to get used to his foul mouth by now. She shot him a glare and said, “About what happened earlier on…”

Before she could finish her words, Zu An had already interrupted right in, “Hm? Did anything happen? I didn’t see or hear anything at all.”

Mi Li’s lips crept up upon seeing how Zu An had decided to feign ignorance. Heh, looks like he still has some tact after all. However, she soon suppressed her smile and returned back to her usual imposing look.

“Ah right, big sis empress, you need to follow me right now to save Chuyan! I’m afraid that they won’t be able on for too long!” exclaimed Zu An.

“What did you call me?” Mi Li’s eyebrows shot up.

“Big sis?” asked Zu An. “I mean, you seem to be just that teeny little bit older than me, so I can’t call you little sis… Or would you prefer me to call you auntie or grandma?”

“Grandma…” Mi Li’s eyelids twitched as cracking sounds echoed from her knuckles.

You have successfully trolled Mi Li for +256 Rage!

She took in a deep breath to calm herself down before remarking coldly, “Let’s go and save your wife.”

Zu An immediately looked upward, only to realize that every level of the seal was tens of meters tall, and the walls were too smooth to provide any support. He might have managed to fall his way down here, but he had no way of getting back up. So, he could only turn to Mi Li sheepishly and say, “Big sis empress, help me.”

“Someone of your cultivation rank wouldn’t even be qualified to serve me tea back then!” Mi Li harrumphed coldly. Still, she grabbed him by his clothes and flew all the way up to the top.

Looking at how deep this cavern was, Zu An couldn’t help but wonder how Qiao Xueying was able to get back up. However, he soon remembered those extendable vines of hers and figured that it wouldn’t be a problem for her at all. 

For a moment here, Zu An wondered if he could feign acrophobia here as an excuse to wrap his arms around Mi Li’s body. It was just a brief glance earlier on, but her body was really as incredible as one could imagine.

But then, he thought about the terrifying pressure he suffered earlier and swiftly dispelled that thought. Safety comes first!

… 

After Qiao Xueying parted with Zu An, she headed all the way up to the topmost layer, where Chu Chuyan was still bound to the altar. Upon seeing that she was still surviving thus far, she heaved a sigh of relief.

“Snow!” Chu Chuyan noticed the commotion and turned her head over, only to see that Qiao Xueying was all by herself. She immediately asked hurriedly, “Where’s Ah Zu? Is it possible that he…”

Just thinking about the terrible fate that might have befallen Zu An choked up Chu Chuyan’s voice, causing her eyes to redden.

Qiao Xueying sighed deeply. She sure is beautiful. She looks like a fairy even when tearing up. It’s hard for me to resist her charms even though I’m a woman too.

“Miss Chu, didn’t you abhor in the past? Why are you so concerned about him now?” asked Qiao Xueying. As she asked those questions, she couldn’t help but glance in the direction of the seal as she wondered how Zu An was faring at the moment.

Chu Chuyan was a little taken aback by how differently Qiao Xueying was addressing her, but she understood that there was no way the latter could consider calling her ‘young miss’ since she was serving a different master. “He has made such a huge sacrifice for me. He could have escaped safely if he had chosen to abandon me.”

“Is that all there is to it?” asked Qiao Xueying as she sat down by the altar.

Chu Chuyan was stunned by Qiao Xueying’s question. Indeed. Is the reason why I’m feeling so worried really because he has saved my life?

She thought about how Zu An continued to hold onto her even while fighting with the zombie warriors, even unhesitatingly using his body to shield her multiple times. Afterward, he even bravely challenged the danger Soul Suppression Seal just for the sliver of hope that she could be freed from the altar.

Most importantly of all, he was willing to even give up the Evanescent Lotus, a crucial ingredient he needed to cure his impotency, so as to save the dying her… 

Recalling the pained look on his face afterward, a smile unknowingly crept onto Chu Chuyan’s face. However, she soon snapped out of her thought when she remembered that Qiao Xueying had returned without Zu An by her side.

“Snow, where is he right now? Did something happen in the seal?” asked Chu Chuyan anxiously.

“Don’t worry, he’s fine. We’ve managed to overcome all three of the seals together,” replied Qiao Xueying.

“It looks like you’re quite formidable to be able to overcome those seals. I’ve really underestimated you all this while,” remarked Chu Chuyan with a sigh.

In her view, even though Zu An possessed all sorts of mysterious means, he was still, after all, a third rank cultivator. She naturally believed that it was the Qiao Xueying who had the higher cultivation rank here who contributed more.

Qiao Xueying sighed deeply and said, “Miss Chu, it looks like you really don’t understand him.”

Chu Chuyan blinked her eyes in confusion, not understanding the reason behind the other party’s words. “Snow, you seem to have changed. You used to detest Ah Zu a lot, and the two of you always argued over everything. But now… I can’t really put it in words, but your attitude toward him has changed greatly.”

Qiao Xueying’s heart skipped a beat. She quickly exclaimed, “You’re thinking too much into it! That fellow is still as hateful as ever to me!”

Just thinking about how that man had angered her time and time again over the last few days was more than enough for her to gnash her teeth in anger.

“Snow, you still haven’t told me where he is yet,” said Chu Chuyan with a frown. 

“He went to save that mysterious woman. Who knows? Maybe he’ll get enchanted by her too.” Qiao Xueying thought about Mi Li’s voice and guessed that the latter must be quite a beautiful woman.

“This powerful seal was used to seal that woman, which means that she must be an incredibly dangerous individual. I really don’t know whether saving her is the right thing or not,” said Chu Chuyan out of worry.

Qiao Xueying was a little displeased by Chu Chuyan’s response. “Miss Chu, instead of worrying about the peace and prosperity of the whole of humankind, why don’t you worry a little more about that fellow first? It’s already approaching the time the both of us agreed on, but he still isn’t out yet. I really don’t know whether he has met with danger or not.”

Chu Chuyan was a little stunned to hear those words. A contemplative look appeared on her face.

“What are the two of you talking about?”

A sinister air suddenly gushed in their direction, causing the two women to turn their heads over. The black-armored general, at some point in time, had returned back to the altar.

They quickly glanced at the lake, only to see that it had already calmed down. All of the evil spirits who had escaped earlier were either destroyed or resealed.

Qiao Xueying immediately leaped to her feet and stood in front of Chu Chuyan, protecting her. Her heart was pounding in unease as she was aware that she couldn’t stop the black-armored general due to the vast difference in their cultivation.

“Snow, hurry up and leave. You aren’t a match for him!” exclaimed Chu Chuyan.

“That won’t do! We went through so much in order to save you, so how can we give up right now? Besides, I’ve already promised that fellow to protect you!” Qiao Xueying pursed her lips tightly together.

“Hm? Where’s the other man?” The black-armored general took a look around, but Zu An was nowhere to be seen.

Qiao Xueying was worried that Zu An hadn’t saved that mysterious woman yet—if so, luring the black-armored general would undo their efforts—so she replied, “He has already left.”

“Left?” The black-armored general was stunned. “He thinks that he can escape from my grasp after daring to impersonate the Founding Sovereign Emperor in my presence?”

Qiao Xueying and Chu Chuyan’s face paled. The mysterious woman was right; Zhang Han had really seen through Zu An’s lies.

“Forget it. I’ll settle the score with him after I mend the seal.” The black-armored general looked at Qiao Xueying as he asked, “Are you intending to stop me?”

Without bothering to respond to that question, Qiao Xueying raised her hand and summoned innumerable green leaves around her before tossing them over to the black-armored general like razor blades. After consuming Zu An’s ‘Faith in Brother Spring’, she had regained at least half of her strength by now.

However, in the face of her attacks, the black-armored general didn’t even bother to dodge at all. Those green leaves simply withered in the face of the black fog shrouding him. 

Qiao Xueying clenched her fists tightly as she began spurring the growth of her hair. This time around, however, she didn’t launch an attack. Instead, she created a bush of thorns around the altar, hoping to stall the black-armored general as long as possible.

“Scram!” Zhang Han manifested a spear in his hand and swept it horizontally, splitting the bush of thorns into half right away.

Qiao Xueying had already mentally prepped herself for the worst, but even so, she didn’t think that her strongest defensive skill wouldn’t even be able to last a second before the enemy.

She tried to dodge the attack, but she was still a split second too late. She, too, was struck squarely by the impact of the spear, causing her body to fly across the air like a sandbag before crashing heavily by the side of the cavern.

Zhang Han had no intention of letting Qiao Xueying off just like that. He flitted over to the place where Qiao Xueying was going to land at in advance and held his spear up high in position. With a cold sneer, he said, “Since you’re the companion of that wretched fool who dared to impersonate His Majesty, I’ll send you on your way as well!”

Qiao Xueying knew that there was no way for her to escape anymore. Left with no choice, she prepared herself to activate Moon’s Reflection in order to block this fatal attack, but a voice suddenly sounded in the room. 

“Stop it right there, or else I’ll bite my tongue and end my life right now!”

It was from Chu Chuyan. She knew that the value of the tribute would be greatly reduced once dead, allowing her to use this against Zhang Han.

Her efforts worked out. Zhang Han paused for a moment before instantaneously returning back to the altar. “It’s good that you reminded me. I might have bound your limbs, but you’re still able to move your tongue.”

After saying those words, he tapped his finger on her chin and sealed off all of her movements.

“Forget it, there could be complications if I drag it out. I shall handle the tribute first.”

Zhang Han began to chant in some sort of obscure language. Black fog gathered from the surroundings to converge around the altar, causing the air to become as viscous as ink. Demons of all shapes of sizes seemed to be hidden within the black fog, slowly clawing their way toward Chu Chuyan.

No matter how mentally resilient Chu Chuyan was, she couldn’t help but feel creeped out by those monsters. She wanted to run, but the shackles on her arms disallowed her from moving at all.

Qiao Xueying bit her lips as she charged forward once more in an attempt to save Chu Chuyan.

“Since you’re courting for death, I’ll allow you to die with her!” sneered Zhang Han.

A hand manifested from the black fog rushed forth and clasped tightly down on Qiao Xueying, trapping her in place. Her strength seemed to fade in the presence of the black fog, rendering her helpless.

The hand lifted her up in an attempt to toss her into the black fog, only for a severe voice to suddenly echo across the hall. “Audacious! How dare you hurt this Sovereign Emperor’s woman?”

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