Chapter 170 – The Zombie Cave
Although the zombies’ attacks were vicious, they completely lacked sorder, so the four mohist disciples managed to gain their footing and regroup. Zhang Lanqing and He Yishi controlled five puppets to hold off the zombies for a while before suddenly dodging to one side, revealing the brothers behind them. They wielded a loaded Thousand Mechanism crossbow in each hand and pulled the triggers.
Sixty Fire Crow bolts scattered outwards. The hides of the zombies could not be penetrated with regular weapons, but they were unable to stop the Fire Crow arrows, which subsequently exploded in their bodies, easily tearing them to pieces. Just a single wave of bolts mowed down a large swathe of them. They no longer seemed so vicious or terrifying anymore.
The remaining seven or eight zombies could no longer pose a threat to them. The humanoid puppets charged up and sharp blades sprang out from their arms, slaughtering the zombies in a mechanical and precise manner.
The nails of the zombies would only leave behind white marks on the puppets, but the sharp blades from the puppets could pierce their heads in a single stroke. Now that they were evenly-matched in terms of numbers, the zombies were not the opponent of the puppets. They were all slain.
The four of them all let out breaths of relief and sat down. Within the Academy of the Hundred Schools, mohist disciples competed against one another using puppets as well, but their contests had never been so dangerous.
Seeing how he had managed to mow down the zombies that had almost claimed his life earlier so easily, Jin Bao was left in a state of disbelief.
Actually, their strength completely surpassed a few dozen zombies. If they were on open ground and standing in formation, all prepared with their Thousand Mechanism crossbows, these zombies would not even be able to reach them. They would be slain on the spot. Even the sixth layer Qi Practitioner, the Zombie Daoist, could not deal with five Thousand Mechanism crossbows so easily.
However, once everything happened so close to them and required them to adapt to the circumstances, they were completely useless.
Hao Pingyang pointed at them and cursed, “You’re embarrassing. You’re fucking embarrassing. To think that you were bold enough to look down on him as a second layer Qi Practitioner. If it weren’t for him, would you all still be alive? With your pig brains, you can’t even tell the difference between real and fakes. My formation scroll has gone to waste, just like you lot.”
They all reddened with shame. Jin Bao grumbled, “Senior brother, I almost just died. Sure, you might not comfort me, but do you have to make it sound so bad?” Although his words were vicious, the mohist disciples clearly were not particularly afraid of their senior brother.
Zhang Lanqing clasped his hands and bowed deeply at Li Qingshan. He said earnestly, “Thank you for your assistance earlier!” Even now, the danger he felt from the swing of the blade earlier still made him fearful. Originally, he was still rather unhappy about how Li Qingshan had destroyed their trap, but all that remained now was gratitude. It was just like what Hao Pingyang had said. Even if Li Qingshan had not come, their trap probably would have failed to harm the actual Zombie Daoist.
Li Qingshan patted his shoulder. “”It was very impressive of you to have managed to hold back your urge to fight back.”
Zhan Lanqing smiled awkwardly. “I was stupefied from fright.”
Li Qingshan could not help but laugh. Zhang Lanqing sure was honest.
The several hundred Qi Gathering pills he ate were not for nothing. Whether it be his strength as a Qi Practitioner or a Body Practitioner, it had all grown tremendously compared to when he faced off against Qian Yannian. Coupled with his fierce murderousness from taking the lives of over a thousand people, he was like a god of slaughter when he descended from the sky. He truly did possess the aura to make people succumb to him.
If he fought against Qian Yannian again in a fair battle now, the battle would no longer be as hopeless as before. In other words, he possessed the strength to threaten fifth layer Qi Practitioners.
However, Hao Pingyang’s Yellow Dragon’s Cannon of Devouring Light was even mightier than Li Qingshan. Zhang Lanqing felt like prey that had caught the attention of two predators when these two attacks locked onto him. He had been utterly stupefied, unable to react at all.
Jin Yuan pulled Jin Bao over. “Thank you for saving my younger brother!” Then he said to the ashamed Jin Bao, “Why don’t you say something?!”
“That… Thank you too, but are you really just at the second layer? How can you be so powerful?” Jin Bao’s age was the closest to Li Qingshan out of everyone present, but he was still a few years older than Li Qingshan. However, he still seemed childish, so he instead appeared younger than the weathered Li Qingshan. There was now some admiration in his gaze towards Li Qingshan. No matter where the powerful went, they would earn respect.
Before Li Qingshan could even answer him, Hao Pingyang smacked Jin Bao’s head. “That’s called a Body Practitioner, you idiot. Haven’t you seen those brainless muscleheads from the school of the Military? Do you live under a rock?”
Li Qingshan thought, To think that you can still bring yourself to call me a musclehead.
Jin Bao flew into a rage from embarrassment and frustration. “If you hit me again, I’m going to turn against you!”
Hao Pingyang raised his hand before placing it back down. “You want to act up? Why don’t you give it a try!?”
Jin Bao leapt up. “Hao Pingyang, fuck your granny!” Afterwards, he was stopped by Zhang Lanqing and the three others who dissuaded him.
“Originally, the Zombie Daoist wanted to use the Submerged Shadow sword to assassinate your senior brother Hao, but he presented no openings, so the Zombie Daoist was afraid to act rashly, which was why he summoned the zombies to surround you.” Li Qingshan smiled. These disciples of mohism sure were straightforward. They seemed a little like the university students from his former life. While they were not young, they were still rather naive. Even the short-tempered Hao Pingyang did not possess a condescending sense of superiority even though he smacked and cursed his junior brothers without holding back. They were different from the Qi Practitioners that Li Qingshan usually saw.
Jin Bao was stunned. Only then did he understand why Hao Pingyang did not immediately assist him.
Li Qingshan continued, “But earlier, when you fell into danger, your senior brother Hao wanted to save you even if it meant risking his life.”
“Senior brother…” Only now did Jin Bao understand that he had almost been used by the Zombie Daoist as a trap to kill Hao Pingyang.
Zhang Lanqing, He Yishi, and Jin Yuan all looked at Hao Pingyang. None of them could think much about it during the chaos earlier, but now that they thought about it, not only had they failed to offer any assistance at all, but they had even almost dragged Hao Pingyang down with them.
“Bullshit. Why would I save him? If an idiot like him dies, it’ll save the school of Mohism from feeding him instead.” Hao Pingyang’s bushy face reddened slightly.
He Yishi said in thought, “The Zombie Daoist was unable to find any openings with senior brother Hao, which was why he then tried to kill senior brother Zhang.” They all thanked Li Qingshan once again.
At that moment of danger, Li Qingshan had used the flash from the Lightning Summoning talisman to immediately locate the Submerged Shadow sword, which was why he was able to deal that attack. Not only had he saved Zhang Lanqing’s life, but he had also given Hao Pingyang the opportunity to fire his cannon. He had basically turned the tables around. He had been far more useful than the four of them.
Li Qingshan said, “We’re all in one boat. Though, you don’t seem like you’ve practised any martial arts before, have you?” When they engaged the zombies in close combat earlier, they basically fought based on their instincts, reactions, and true qi alone. Their moves could not even match a third-rate master of the jianghu, which was why they suffered so much.
Zhang Lanqing smiled bitterly. “We’re disciples of the school of Mohism. Over all these years, all we’ve learnt is engineering, creating puppets, and building cities and structures. Although we did attend a few classes in the school of the Military’s exhibition hall, how can we actually match disciples of the school of the Military? If I go back, I’ll definitely make up for my lack of martial arts.” The others all expressed their agreement.
Only then did Li Qingshan learn that they were engineers and fighting did not fall into their studies. Not all Qi Practitioners had the ability to kill and plunder. There were Qi Practitioners who specialised in professions as well.
“What do you plan on doing next?”
Hao Pingyang said, “Obviously to press forward into the enemy’s lair!”
Li Qingshan said, “The Zombie Cave is not a place you can simply barge into. The morgue is only one of his places for nurturing corpses. After he’s done nurturing them, he’ll take them into the Zombie Cave. Who knows how many zombies have accumulated in the cave over all these years. It’ll be extremely dangerous.”
The reason why the Zombie Daoist was able to remain alive while being hunted down by the Hawkwolf Guard was closely related to his cave. He usually hid himself underground, staying in the complicated caverns that were as confusing as a maze. No one knew where his dwelling actually was, and if they tried searching for it, they would face an endless attack of zombies. If anything happened to them, they would die in there and become part of the zombies.
When Zhang Lanqing and the other three heard that they would be entering a pitch-black cavern after the danger earlier, they all began considering retreat. “Senior brother, why don’t we return to the academy first and get a few powerful helpers before we go looking for the Zombie Daoist?”
Hao Pingyang glared at all of them. “Return to the academy? What about the mission? We’ve managed to get out after so much difficulty. You all know how long it takes to travel to and from here. By then, who knows whether the Zombie Daoist would have moved his hiding location. You might not mind embarrassing yourselves, but I do!”
The four of them looked at one another. Before they left, their master had said that they were to listen to all of Hao Pingyang’s orders during the mission.
“His flying sword has been destroyed, and his mind was shaken up. He won’t be able to refine another flying sword in time. Killing him now is the best opportunity we will ever have.” That was how Hao Pingyang put it, but he looked at Li Qingshan. He was not confident that the five of them could kill the Zombie Daoist. However, he had developed a very high opinion of Li Qingshan with his performance in the battle earlier. If Li Qingshan were willing to join them, their chances at success would increase significantly.
Li Qingshan began to hesitate. He wanted to wait for Zhuo Zhibo, but he had no idea whether Zhuo Zhibo would actually come. If Zhuo Zhibo were not coming, he would definitely treat the Zombie Daoist as his target. A sixth layer Qi Practitioner must have many pills. It could resolve his current shortage. However, the issue right now was whether to work with these disciples of mohism or not. Together with Xiao An, the two of them alone should be enough to kill the Zombie Daoist.
“If you join us, Qingshan, I’ll give you my share of the rewards.” Seeing how he was unable to change Hao Pingyang’s mind, Zhang Lanqing wanted to make this journey into the cave safer by recruiting Li Qingshan. He also wanted to pay back Li Qingshan for saving his life.
Jin Yuan and Jin Bao added, “We’ll do the same.”
He Yishi hesitated, “Me too.” As long as they could complete this mission, not only would they still have their pride in tact, but the Academy of the Hundred Schools would give them a reward as well, so it was not like he would get nothing out of this.
Hao Pingyang said, “Kid, you’re a second layer Qi Practitioner, yet you have a share that is even greater than mine, so let’s not talk about any compensation for earlier anymore. We’ll split the things on the Zombie Daoist seventy-thirty, alright?”
In order to avoid any disputes, they agreed on the share that they would be receiving before they set off. They would compensate everyone for their losses with what they received before splitting up the remaining items, with Hao Pingyang claiming thirty percent and the other four claiming seventy percent. As the main powerhouse of this mission, Hao Pingyang was rather generous with how everything would be split up.