Chapter 684 – Incinerating It All
Elder brother Li and the sister-in-law huddled together in bed, trembling in fear. The entire house shook with them as dust constantly sprinkled down.
Countless terrifying voices beyond the understanding of regular people passed through the walls, filling the entire room, even draining their courage to take a look at what was happening.
The yellow ox constantly mooed in the cowshed next door, filled with fear and despair.
A child around eight or nine years old wormed out of his blankets and rushed towards the door.
“Pebble! What are you doing?” The sister-in-law suddenly discovered that the child beside her had vanished, which made her pale in fright.
“Old Yellow is still outside! I’ll lead him in!”
Pebble turned around and answered, having rushed out of the door already. He dared not look around, barging straight into the cowshed. A yellow ox was shaking its head and tugging at the rope restlessly, dripping with blood.
“Don’t be afraid, Old Yellow. Let’s go back into the house!”
Pebble undid the rope and leapt onto the ox’s back, hugging the yellow ox’s head. Only then did the ox calm down slightly. As soon as it set foot out of the cowshed, there was a great rumble, and a few zombies smashed down the courtyard wall, rushing in.
Under the moonlight, their ferocious figures immediately left Pebble dumbstruck. The yellow ox immediately turned around and fled towards the other side of the village. Pebble leaned on the back of the ox as the wind whistled past his ears. Returning to his senses after quite some difficulty, he looked back and called out, “Dad, mum!”
However, the last thing he saw was his house collapsing. Bricks and rubble flew everywhere, kicking up a cloud of dust. Before he could even worry or feel sorrow, a few zombies charged out of the dust, tailing right behind them. Their movements were stiff, but who knew how many times faster than the yellow ox they were.
The zombie at the very front suddenly lunged over. His ten long and curved nails almost reached Pebble’s bottom, reducing the back half of the yellow ox to a mess.
The yellow ox let out a miserable cry and collapsed on the ground. Pebble was thrown off its back and hurtled towards a wall. He was about to have his head smashed apart. He shut his eyes firmly, but he felt his body lighten. A gentle and powerful wind wrapped around him. When he opened his eyes, he saw an unfamiliar man holding him in one arm while carrying a glowing hoe in the other.
It seemed like a regular hoe for farmwork, but it plowed through the heads of the zombies with ease. Then it swung around with a silver arc and repelled over a dozen zombies that lunged over.
Li Long did not become entangled with them in battle, rushing into the sky soon afterwards. Who knew whether Pebble was naturally brave or frightened out of his wits, but he widened his eyes as he gazed at the ground in the distance. He saw countless terrifying zombies; his house had completely collapsed, reduced to ruins. He was unable to find it no matter how he looked.
Beneath them, trees grew furiously. Because these plants were extremely close together, they bunched up into a wall. Their roots below coiled together firmly.
After the Iron Blood Thistles and Sweet Potato Mines whittled them down, the zombie army had sustained extremely heavy losses, with less than a thousand remaining. However, most of their casualties were weaker walking corpses. They had lost far fewer refined zombies, and they had not even lost a single Iron Plate corpse.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
The flood of corpses smashed into the wall of trees fiercely, sending splinters flying and making the trees shake.
Li Long frowned firmly. These trees were not offensive plants used for battle. Although he still possessed a few more seeds of offensive plants, it was a much smaller number, nowhere near enough to stop the flood of corpses. He gripped a handful of seeds firmly. His palms were full of sweat, but he did not toss them out in a hurry. Instead, he continued to plant trees that could form walls.
Under the frenzied collision from the corpses, splinters flew everywhere and sap spattered about. However, while the zombies were strangely powerful, they were unable to smash through a sturdy wall composed of several hundred trees immediately.
Surrounded by hordes of zombies, Xiong Baitan arrived before the wall of trees. His eyes shone with a vicious light. He never thought the enemy could actually obstruct him so much, using these strange plants to rapidly deplete the zombies under his control.
The wall of trees stood over ten meters tall, and they were lush with foliage. Regular zombies struggled to scale past it; only the more nimble Iron Plate corpses could. However, once the Iron Plate corpses made it over, they would be separated from the majority. It would take an extremely great toll on a tenth layer Qi Practitioner to kill all of these Iron Plate corpses, but it was not difficult.
What Xiong Baitan feared the most was becoming the target of a sneak attack once this happened. He treated these Iron Plate corpses as his bodyguards. Regular zombies were unable to keep the enemy locked in battle, so once he scattered some more seeds, his life really might be in danger.
Although they could detour around the wall of trees, water paddies surrounded the village. Following the endless autumn rain, they were basically no different from swamps. The movements of zombies would definitely be restricted if they entered the paddies.
“Hmph, do you think I’ve fallen for your plan? It’s just a bunch of wood. Since we can’t push it over, then we’ll carve our way through!”
Xiong Batian swung the bell, and the zombies parted to form a path. Xiong Batian personally led several dozen Iron Plate corpses to the wall, and the ringing of the bell suddenly sped up. The Iron Plate corpses at the front swung their claws around furiously.
The tough wood was ripped apart like mud. In the blink of an eye, a huge hole appeared before rapidly extending inwards. Before long, they had carved out a passageway through the wall of trees.
As soon as the first Iron Plate corpse emerged on the other side, a huge mouth riddled with teeth swallowed it in a single gulp. The huge mouth was actually a gorgeous, deep-purple flower, and the stalk connected to the flower squirmed like a snake. The stalk was connected to an even-thicker branch.
There were a total of nine stalks like that, and every stalk had a total of nine flowers at their tips. It was like the legendary hydra, so it was known as the “Hydra Flower”. The buds hunted like pythons, biting down on an Iron Plate corpse each.
The Iron Plate corpses put up a fierce struggle as the soft stalks coiled over like snakes, immobilising them completely while secreting powerful, acidic digestive juices. Even the refined Iron Plate corpses stood no chance as the acid rapidly ate away at them.
The Hydra Flowers blocked a total of eight tunnels through the wall. Coupled with Li Long, he was truly holding them off alone.
Xiong Batian felt a tinge of regret. He should have taken a detour instead. However, with a thought, he came up with an idea. He ordered all the zombies to retreat back into the tunnels. Then, he ordered the Iron Plate corpses to dig to the two sides, avoiding these obstructing plants.
No matter how powerful these plants were, they still could not move freely. Li Long would be forced to replant them if he wanted to continue defending.
“Let’s see how many more seeds you have!” Xiong Batian sneered.
The seeds of offensive plants in Li Long’s possession were truly close to running out. And, while planting these seeds did not take too much of a toll, the effects built up, and the true qi in his dantian was close to running over. He was holding a spiritual stone in his hand to recover.
However, there was instead a sense of relief and ease on his face. A talisman flew out of his hand. It was only a regular Scorching Fire talisman. If he were lucky, he could kill an Iron Plate corpse at most. The Scorching Flame talisman erupted into a ball of fire in the air, but it did not fly towards any zombie at all. Instead, it flew towards the neat row of trees.
The flames spread rapidly. The trees all blazed violently like torches. In particular, the fruits on the branches would immediately explode into a ball of fire as long as a tongue of flame gently licked them.
To disciples of the school of Agriculture, there were only two types of plants that possessed any value. One was offensive plants, but that only occupied a very small fraction of them. Most of them were plants with practical usages, like fruits, vegetables, grain, and medicines.
Among these trees, most of them were tung oil trees the school of Agriculture specially bred. Even their branches contained oil. Once they were set alit, even a storm could not put them out.
A while later, the wall of trees turned into a wall of flames, turning the sky fire-red.
Xiong Batian led the Iron Plate corpses to carve out a tunnel through the trees. The zombie army tailed right behind him, basically all arriving below the wall of trees, only to suddenly discover that the surroundings had already turned into a sea of fire!
Basically every single corpse had been splattered with a lot of sap. Their withered bodies were rapidly ignited. Even for the Iron Plate corpses that were impervious to regular weapons, their iron plates began to distort and change shape under the flames.
Xiong Baitan’s face changed drastically. He emitted true qi from his body to fend off the flames. He could no longer care about the regular zombies anymore. Leading the Iron Plate corpses, he turned around and rushed out of the sea of fire, only to see a figure descend from above and land on the edge of the fire.
Li Long stood on the firm ground with his feet bare. The firelight reflected in his eyes, making them shine. He gripped a hoe firmly with his crude hands. He scattered the last few seeds before him, which burst through the earth, grew, and danced around one by one, fighting alongside him.
Large swathes of smoke rose into the sky. After momentarily clearing up, the sky was blotted out once again when the dark clouds gathered over, blocking the moonlight. The autumn drizzle fell slowly.
On the boundary between rain and fire, the plants filled with vigour and the zombies reeking with an aura of death became locked in a fierce struggle.
Li Long’s eyes were fixed on Xiong Baitian the entire time. He raised his hoe high into the air before swinging down viciously.
By the time the flames had burnt everything to ashes, the sun had already risen. The drizzle fell onto the grey charcoal; with a hiss, a curl of misty, dusty smoke rose into the air.
Within the smoke and mist, Li Long lay on the scorching ground, gasping for air. He still gripped his hoe firmly as he gazed at the gloomy sky.
He propped himself up and gazed out. The entire Crouching Ox village had already been reduced to ruins. With the wooden wall that had been burned to ashes as a boundary, one side was ruins the zombies had trampled, while the other was charcoal the flames produced.
Although it began to rain afterwards, it was inevitable for the fire to spread.
Li Long could not help but become frustrated. After a night of bitter battle, he had killed his enemy, but he had failed to save the village. He did not have Li Qingshan’s resolve. This was the hometown where he had been born and raised after all. Countless familiar people and things had vanished overnight. He felt no joy from victory at all. Instead, his heart weighed heavily.
“Dad! Mum! Dad!”
Sobbing and shouting rang out from behind. Li Long turned around, only to see a child digging furiously through the ruins, but he could not even shift a slightly larger stone. His tears and snot formed a mess on his face.
Li Long’s heart eased up for some reason. “What’s your name?”
The child looked back. “M- my name is Li Qingshi. Please, immortal, please save my dad and mum!”