Chapter 178 – Iron Plate Corpse
The boat travelled with the flow. For a moment, the boat was quiet. The atmosphere was rather cold.
Hao Pingyang’s face was completely sunken as he sat at the very front, gazing at the depths of the cave as splashes of water landed on him. Zhang Lanqing frowned, focusing on steering the boat with his head lowered.
Jin Yuan and Jin Bao both felt rather awkward and ashamed. They said nothing either.
Suddenly, He Yishi said, “How many years have we known each other? We only met Li Qingshan less than a day ago. Are we supposed to drift apart as seniors and juniors over a single outsider now?”
They had all entered the Academy of the Hundred Thousands when they were young, and they had joined in the same year. Although a difference existed between their strengths due to their varying talents and level of work, it had never affected their relationship. Or in other words, Hao Pingyang did not look down on them due to being stronger. Instead, he took care of them.
Jin Yuan said, “Yishi is right. Senior brother Hao, please calm down. Qingshan will be fine. Our priority right now is to work together against the Zombie Daoist so that we can complete the mission our master gave us.”
After a moment of silence, Hao Pingyang sighed heavily and nodded slightly. He said, “Prepare yourselves. This time, that kid’s not here to take care of you anymore.”
Jin Bao said confidently, “Don’t worry. We’ll definitely do well this time!”
These scenes and images flashed through Jin Yuan’s head, but they had already lost their original colour. They were pale white. All that was left was Jin Bao’s dead expression.
His tears fell endlessly. He took one last glance at his younger brother. He was afraid to stop, so he continued to run around mindlessly in the pitch-black caves like a headless fly. The heavy, beastial breathing from behind drew closer and closer.
A boulder suddenly appeared before him. The path ahead had ended. Unknowingly, he had actually reached a dead end!
Why would this happen? If he had stayed behind and received the enemies with Li Qingshan, would he have suffered the same fate? Yeah, it must have been different. Even a Black Hawk commander could not be more terrifying than this monster.
Jin Yuan abruptly turned around, and he saw a head fly over in the darkness, bouncing a few times on the ground before rolling over to his feet. It was the head of a puppet. He had released it to block the monster, but it had been completely destroyed in a single stroke.
A tall, wide figure walked over from the darkness in front of him. Its shoes seemed to be made out of metal as they scraped against the ground. Its eyes revealed a bloodthirsty light as four, long canines protruded from its lips. It heaved constantly like a starving beast.
“Aaaargh!” Jin Yuan howled as he launched a barrage of Fire Crow arrows with the Thousand Mechanism crossbow in his hands.
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
They only produced sparks when they landed on the black figure. The sharp bolts failed to pierce the monster’s hide, and the string of explosions failed to harm it at all. Instead, that infuriated it, making it let out a roar.
It was possible to see through the firelight that the monster was adorned in a set of iron plates. It did not wear it like armour. Instead, it was embedded in its body, covering its every inch and muscles. Even half of its face was metal, which made it seem particularly cruel and vicious.
“D- don’t come over! Senior brother, save me!”
The monster lunged at Jin Yuan with lightning speed. A sharp claw stabbed viciously into Jin Yuan’s chest, lifting him up into the air. It bit down on his neck and gulped down the fresh blood.
Jin Yuan struggled for his life, constantly beating the monster’s body, but it was useless. His body gradually weakened, drooping down after twitching a few times. His last thought flashed through his head.
If I didn’t flee, I could have died with senior brother and everyone else at the very least. Senior brothers, I’m sorry!
The frantic sound of a bell suddenly rang out in the depths of the cave. The monster raised its head and let out a furious, reluctant roar while holding Jin Yuan’s corpse. The monster rushed off in the direction of the bell.
The monster arrived in a spacious cavern with the two corpses before leaning on Jin Yuan’s corpse again, sucking blood from his neck.
The stone coffin was now gone from the altar in the cavern, while the thick chains around the coffin now wrapped around Hao Pingyang firmly. Surprisingly, He Yishi and Zhang Lanqing were right beside him. They were tied up as well. They seemed haggard, barely breathing.
The horrific deaths of the siblings left Hao Pingyang utterly devastated. He roared out, “Jin Yuan! Jin Bao!” The chains rattled from his movement; the sight saddened Zhang Lanqing and He Yishi as well.
“Jejejeje!” The Zombie Daoist let out a crazy laugh. “Did you really think that a bunch of trash like you could deal with this daoist? Have you finally witnessed how powerful the Iron Plate corpse is?”
He spent all these years hidden underground, studying the art of refining corpses. Useless rotting corpses and zombies were not the only things he refined. Things like that could only be considered as the very basics in the path of refining corpses. They could be used for dealing with the weak, but against stronger Qi Practitioners who were skilled in battle, they were basically useless. Only when he had refined an Iron Plate corpse could he be considered someone who knew how to refine corpses.
The Zombie Daoist said, “Do you know just how much effort I spent refining this Iron Plate corpse?”
Hao Pingyang and the other two cursed aloud.
The Zombie Daoist paid no heed to them and continued, “It took me several years of work. I dug up graves everywhere, and who knows how many people I had killed. I had only managed to find twelve suitable corpses from over a thousand. Afterwards, I forged steel until it was molten and poured it onto these corpses, layer by layer, replacing their flesh and blood. Just this process took me three years and destroyed half of the corpses that I had.”
“Afterwards, I constantly watered them with blood, constantly refining them with my techniques. Only then did the corpses gain some consciousness, turning alive once again. This took another three years. In the end, only a single one succeeded.”
“The owner of this corpse was originally a first-rate master who practised external martial arts. I doused him in molten iron when he was still alive, even using true qi and pills to sustain his life, preventing him from dying so that he could accumulate enough resentment and grievance. Only then did I start refining him, and as expected, only he succeeded. You really can’t afford to show benevolence as a person!”
He Yishi shivered all over. Just how terrifiying of a torture was that, being doused by molten iron? What the Zombie Daoist was implying made his heart grow even colder.
The Zombie Daoist laughed crazily, “Although it took a decade of hard work, it was worth it! It was worth it!” The Iron Plate Corpse was invulnerable, and it could move as swiftly as the wind. Its body was as tough as a spiritual artifact. Even sixth layer Qi Practitioners would be forced to avoid it if they encountered one.
When Hao Pingyang and his junior brothers barged into the dwelling, the Zombie Daoist, who had been prepared the entire time, released the Iron Plate Corpse. There was only a single possible outcome after that.
That was equivalent to being encircled by two sixth layer Qi Practitioners, who were further supported by a group of zombies. They became heavily injured very soon. Jin Bao used the opportunity that arose when Hao Pingyang struggled against the Zombie Daoist and when the Iron Plate corpse attacked the others to flee. Jin Yuan immediately followed him, but in the end, they were both caught by the Iron Plate corpse and killed.
The Zombie Daoist had vented all of his repressed feelings from across the years. He calmed down and said sinisterly, “Do you know why I’m telling you all this? That’s because I’ll turn you all into Iron Plate corpses as well! With the experience from last time, it’ll definitely be very easy this time round.” This was the terrifying aspect of refining corpses. If he had enough time, he could create an army alone.
Hao Pingyang continued to curse vigorously, while blood drained from Zhang Lanqing and He Yishi’s faces. If they were going to be refined into Iron Plate corpses, just the process alone would be enough for them to wish that they were dead.
He Yishi’s mind gave way. He sobbed and begged, “Please, don’t kill me! I’ll give you whatever you want! Once I formally become an engineer, I’ll be able to make a lot of spiritual stones! I can’t die here!”
Hao Pingyang said, “Don’t beg him! He won’t spare you. As disciples of mohism, even if we have to die, we should die like men. Master will avenge us.”
He Yishi said in resentment, “It’s all your fault. If you hadn’t brought us along, none of this would have ever happened! It’s all your fault!”
Hao Pingyang was stunned. He was speechless.
Zhang Lanqing said, “He Yishi, have you lost your mind?”
He Yishi said, “I haven’t lost my mind at all. You’re the same as him. Just because you’re at the fifth and sixth layers, you scold and beat us however you want. All you have is better talent and a higher cultivation, so what’s so impressive about that?”
Hao Pingyang’s heart turned cold. Despite his higher cultivation, he only took a thirty percent share. If he wanted to, he could have embarked on this mission with much better companions. All he wanted to do was to take care of the juniors he was close with, but he never thought it would all end up like this.
The Zombie Daoist chucked like he was watching a show.
He Yishi tried to suck up to the Zombie Daoist. “Sir daoist, enlightened master, this one is willing to slave away for you. I’ll do anything you want, as long as you spare me.”
The Zombie Daoist said, “Alright. If you want to slave away for me, there’ll be plenty of opportunities.”
After pausing slightly, he said, “That is, once you become a zombie. Compared to living people, zombies are much more reliable. Tsktsk, you probably won’t be able to become an Iron Plate corpse with your talent.” Then he turned to Hao Pingyang. “You, on the other hand, are pretty good. It’s just a pity that the kid called Li Qingshan didn’t come with you. Otherwise, I’ll have three Iron Plate corpses. No one will be able to oppose me in Jiaping city anymore!”
As soon as He Yishi showed delight, he plunged into despair once again. He was ashen.
Even as a zombie, he was not as great as Hao Pingyang. That only added insult to injury.
There was a gentle sound, and a tiny figure quickly flew over.
“Who’s there?” The Zombie Daoist suddenly turned around and gazed into the pitch-black cave. He forced the restless Iron Plate corpse back under control before waving his right hand as he commanded four zombies to leap forth.
He had specially refined these four zombies. They were much more powerful than the zombies in the morgue. Although they were not as powerful as the Iron Plate zombie, they were equivalent to Qi Practitioners of the third or fourth layer. However, after they leapt over, he did not hear anything from them again.
The Zombie Daoist’s expression changed. His connection with the zombies was severed at the same time. “Who is it? Get out here!”
“Brother Hao, you really are bad at making friends!” Li Qingshan walked over from the entrance.
Zhang Lanqing said, “Qingshan!”
The Zombie Daoist became overjoyed instead of angry. “It’s you!” He studied Li Qingshan. “You really are a piece of great material. If you’re refined into an Iron Plate corpse, you might even be more powerful than him.”
Hao Pingyang said, “Be careful, that’s an Iron Plate corpse!”
“Too late!” Cold light flashed through the Zombie Daoist’s eyes. He rang the bronze bell in his hand, and the Iron Plate corpse lunged towards Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan retreated rapidly as he drew his Wind-entwining blade. He launched it as hard as he could, past the Zombie Daoist and directly towards the chains around Hao Pingyang’s limbs.