Chapter 174 – Shooting Game
The large corpses that floated on the surface of the water suddenly released poisonous gas and began moving at startling speeds. They sprang up from the surface of the water and flew towards the boat in the darkness.
He Yishi’s mouth hung agape as his Thousand Mechanism crossbow drooped down. Terrifying corpses filled every single inch around him. He felt like he had been thrown into a terrifying nightmare, unable to wake up. Even for prodigies of the Academy of the Hundred Schools like them, the fate that awaited them after being pulled into the water was as clear as day.
Hao Pingyang roared out as he swung his Yellow Dragon’s Cannon of Devouring Light around, smashing it into the floating corpses, but he failed to send them flying away. The corpses all exploded and released large amounts of poisonous gas. The black, murky fluids they sprayed out landed on the boat with a hiss and smoke rose up. It landed on Hao Pingyang’s face as well. While it was stopped by his true qi, it did make him seem rather miserable.
Bang! Bang! Bang! The floating corpses exploded on the boat, and dense, poisonous gas enveloped the entire vessel. Their visibility was reduced to less than an inch away. All they could hear was the moans and groans of the corpses resounding through the cave.
Having lost his sense of sight, Jin Bao panicked inside. He yelled out, “Brother! Brother!” He felt like only he was left in this terrifying hell. He yelled out as he shot at the water. He also released his true qi instinctively, blocking out the gas and attacks from all directions. The boat was simply too small, so he was unable to use his puppets.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! He ran out of Fire Crow bolts in a single instant from how quickly he fired them, vanishing into the thick gas. Most of them landed in the water and produced even more violent waves. It made it seem like the tiny boat was traversing through stormy seas, yet it was unable to advance even an inch forward. Countless corpses jammed the oars as they climbed up, pulling the boat into the water.
“Oh no! The boat is going to sink!” Jin Bao called out frantically. At this moment, a moist yet shrivelled hand suddenly grabbed his hand through the gas!
“Argh!” Jin Bao screamed as he staggered back and ran into someone. Although he managed to knock the hand away with a spurt of true qi, he was still shaken up.
Jin Yuan heard his brother’s scream in the gas and also called out, “Jin Bao, what’s wrong?”
“I- I-” Jin Bao heaved. He crouched down with everything that he had. The Yellow Dragon’s Cannon of Devouring Light whistled above his head, yet the fierce gale it kicked up failed to make the poisonous gas disperse. Instead, the gas only grew denser.
“Oh no, I’m running out of true qi!” He Yishi’s voice cracked. He no longer possessed the same valiance from before. Not only did he have to release his true qi to protect every inch of his body while within the poisonous gas, but he even had to repel the corpses from time to time as well, so he was running out fast.
The four others all fell quiet. Zhao Lanqing was dumbfounded, while Hao Pingyang wielded the Yellow Dragon’s Cannon of Devouring Light swiftly, attempting to repel all the zombies that climbed aboard.
Li QIngshan knitted a net of blades with his Wind-entwining blade, cutting all of the shriveled corpses that fell down from above to shreds. He felt helpless over how his companions responded. The water corpses were terrifying, but they were nowhere near as powerful as the zombies in the morgue. Even prepared masters of the jianghu could deal with them.
The Zombie Daoist had successfully made use of the geography available to him, unleashing his powers to his full ability to overwhelm them psychologically and waste away their true qi. Even though he was not exactly a strategist, he was a tactician. It was possible to imagine just how deadly it would be if the Submerged Shadow sword was present as well, launching sneak attacks from within the thick gas.
Li Qingshan reached towards his talisman pouch, but he smiled again and pulled his hand back. He said to Zhang Lanqing, “Prepare to set off!”
Zhang Lanqing answered with a question, “What?”
Xiao An seemed no different from before, but she moved with the agility of a monkey. She grabbed the Thousand Mechanism crossbow from Jin Bao’s hand, and with two clicks, she reloaded them. She spread her hands, and the crossbows sprayed out with bolts. She began to turn around on the spot. The Fire Crow bolts sprayed out violently in a circular fashion, brushing past everyone and landing on the water corpses climbing up the boat with great accuracy.
Boom! Boom! Boom! There were a string of explosions that occurred so closely to one another that it seemed like a single explosion. The waves of air and water it kicked up blasted the boat from the surface of the water.
Zhang Lanqing cried out as he channeled all of his true qi into the boat. A stream of air spurted out from the back, and it began to fly, rushing out of the poisonous gas. It left behind a layer of remains and countless hands that suddenly extended from the water.
As his vision cleared up, He Yishi could not help but celebrate. Looking at everyone else, he discovered that they were the same as him. Only Li Qingshan and Hao Pingyang remained calm.
The howl rose up once more as the huge, floating mass of corpses slammed towards the boat as they sprayed with poisonous gas.
Unknowingly, Xiao An had already arrived at the nose of the boat. Her clothes ruffled violently as the fierce wind blew her seaweed-like hair behind her, brushing against Zhang Lanqing’s face. His eyes widened. All he felt was that this quiet child seemed to be shining with blinding light.
Her expression remained the same as before. She held the two crossbows with her pure, small hands, standing firmly among the unrest. The floating corpses exploded in the air. None of them managed to get closer than ten steps from the boat.
Bang! The boat landed in the water once again and kicked up countless waves. It shot forward at full speed, throwing behind the dangerous region of water. A series of cheers rang out from the boat. Hao Pingyang could not help but let out a sigh of relief.
Li Qingshan placed his hand on Xiao An’s shoulder and smiled in approval. Even he would not have been able to do all of that so flawlessly even if he managed to control his power. At the end of day, someone from his side would still be more reliable. My Xiao An is unlike your people who drag you down!
The corner of Xiao An’s lips curled up as she smiled back at him. Then she blinked her eyes, which twinkled like stars.
Li Qingshan nodded slightly, and the Skull Prayer Bead was thrown into the water once again.
Hao Pingyang murmured, “Can you still call her a child?” Even a sixth layer Qi Practitioner like him was unable to do any better than Xiao An. Of course, his position in the team was not like those regular sixth layer Qi Practitioners who could control artifacts either. The explosive power of the Yellow Dragon’s Cannon of Devouring Light was enough to kill any sixth layer Qi Practitioner, and it possessed a tremendous range. It was a weapon even more terrifying than regular flying swords, but it was not suited for the prior close combat.
Li Qingshan shrugged. Those people behind you are the children. Before he could even reply, Hao Pingyang had already begun cursing, raining them with spittle, “You bastards. So much for trying to redeem yourselves. Why don’t you redeem my ass? Even a child is better than you. I think the three of us will instead be safer without you lot.”
They looked at one another and lowered their heads, unable to talk back.
Xiao An returned the Thousand Mechanism crossbow to Jin Bao and passed the other one to Zhang Lanqing. She felt that this trip was very interesting. It was much more interesting than Jiaping city. At the very least, shooting zombies was more fun than stabbing ants.
If Hao Pingyang and the others knew that their difficult battle was only just an interesting shooting game to her, they would have been utterly stunned. However, compared to the dangers she had gone through with Li Qingshan, this was indeed like a game; there was no danger at all.
Zhang Lanqing said, “You can keep it. I have another one as a backup.” Zhang Lanqing wanted to rub Xiao An’s head, but she avoided his hand. He did not find it awkward. He rubbed his own head with a smile.
Jin Bao said reluctantly, “I’ll give mine to you too.” He was indebted to Li Qingshan and Xiao An for helping him out twice, yet he was unable to return the favour, and this feeling was further compounded by how generous Zhang Lanqing was. He was unable to swallow his pride over this given his young age. Moreover, the crossbow was completely different when it was in this child’s hands compared to his. If Xiao An wielded it, he instead felt even safer than wielding it himself. His life seemed to be in better hands.
Afterwards, the two of them even gave her ten magazines of Fire Crow bolts each in an extremely generous manner. This was a cost they had to pay if they wanted to complete this mission. Compared to wasting it in their own hands, they would be better off giving them to this child.
Li Qingshan thanked them in Xiao An’s place. These two crossbows were true lethal weapons. In the hands of a regular third or fourth layer Qi Practitioner, they were enough to threaten Qi Practitioners two or three layers higher, and it would not cost them much true qi at all. This was not something regular low grade spiritual artifacts could achieve. These crossbows would be worth several hundred Qi Gathering pills at the very least.
Xiao An lowered her head and played around with the Thousand Mechanism crossbows. Their design was extremely delicate. Who knows how many components went into making them. They were made out of wood, but they weighed heavily like metal.
Despite all that, Li Qingshan had actually still underestimated the value of these two crossbows. These disciples of mohism did not even bring a single talisman with them. All they brought were a few puppets, a crossbow, and as many Fire Crow arrows as possible. That was how much confidence they placed in this weapon.
If this item was sold on the free market, it could easily fetch over a thousand Qi Gathering pills. It was expensive due to the input from the disciples of mohism. However, as their creators, the materials did not cost so much, which was why they could afford to be so generous.
As soon as they had left the region of water, the Skull Prayer Bead transformed into a huge skull and spat out flames, cleaning up all the corpses there. Regardless of whether its prey could or could not move, it had a feast before leaving.
A while later, a series of black figures arrived quickly. They were the Hawkwolf Guard under Zhuo Zhibo’s lead. They did not have to use a vessel. Their personal strength was sufficient.
Like monkeys, they extended their hands and grabbed the stalactites on the ceiling to propel themselves forward, or they kicked off the moist, slippery walls. Once their force was spent, they would easily kick off the air and arrive at the other wall. They kicked off both walls and moved no slower than the boat that went with the flow. Both their reactions and movements were the best of the best.
The most graceful was Zhuo Zhibo. He did not even have to move his legs. Instead, he simply stood above the surface of the water like he was on ground as he advanced rapidly. At a closer glance, there was a tiny blade below the tips of his feet.
They stopped scouting now. Xie Nande said, “That’s strange. There were clearly sounds of battle earlier, so why isn’t there a single corpse at all?”
“Who cares. Let’s just catch up to them and slaughter them all. We don’t have to worry about any of them escaping in this cave.”
“Didn’t you want to use them to kill the Zombie Daoist?”
“I don’t think they’ll even be able to reach the Zombie Daoist’s den.”
After a while of thought, Zhuo Zhibo suddenly waved his hand and made a gesture to kill. The cave constantly twisted and turned. In a place like this, Hao Pingyang would not be able to unleash the might of his cannon. There was nothing to fear.
The eyes of the Hawkwolf guards all lit up as they surged with murderousness. Some of them became excited and let out cries, while others licked their lips in a blood-thirsty manner. “It has been quite some time since we last hunted together.”