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Chapter 167: The Heretical Dragon's true nature
It is a moonless, windy night.
Within a dark, high-rise building, one can hear a faint crunching sound, like teeth gnawing on a bone. In a place where all light is blocked, this noise is eerie enough to make one's hair stand on end.
"I will not let you all off… Huo Zaiyuan, as well as that person…injuring me. Very quickly…once I recover, I will be sure to take your pitiful lives…" A low murmur comes from a figure squatting in a corner of the room. A hand darts out to s.n.a.t.c.h up a decapitated zombie head, its teeth sink into the skull, ripping a chunk out.
As the head is devoured in a few bites, its other arm begins to grow back. Staring at its newly regrown arm, the creature flexes its fingers, only to pause when a small noise sounds. Head snapping around, it relaxes slightly. The window was merely blown open, white curtains billowing messily thanks to the fierce gale raging outside.
Not seeing anything unusual, the evolved undead returns to gorging itself on another brain. Ignoring the constant clattering of the loose window latch, the creature is not aware that the moment its head lowers, a lean silhouette appears on the windowsill.
As the wind howls and the curtains tremble, the shadow standing at the window shifts and contorts, causing it to seem rather mysterious. However, through the gap between the half-drawn curtains, one can clearly see the pair of glowing golden eyes staring into the room.
At this moment, the patch of clouds covering the moon disperses. Bright moonlight reflects off the glossy black scales covering the back of the person's hands. Razor-sharp claws gleam with a cold, deadly light.
The moonlight casts a long shadow that stretches across the floor, causing Cheng Mingcheng, who is currently hiding in the corner, to freeze. Not allowing it time to react, five streaks of white light flashes, easily chopping off both arms it went through so much trouble to regrow. Its legs were not spared either, femurs crushed to dust…
In the next second, a powerful hand clamps around its neck, squeezing tightly as Cheng Mingcheng is slammed against the wall.
"You…who are you…" The mouth sporting shark-like teeth opens as it futilely tries to struggle out of the stranger's grasp. The zombie belatedly realises it cannot call out to the other common undead within the building. Even choking out this question required a lot of effort.
Light flittering into the room illuminates the stranger's face, displaying the sneer on his lips and the black scales covering his handsome visage, a pair of frosty, merciless golden eyes fixed on Cheng Mingcheng.
"Tsk, tsk. Weren't you interested in me? Pretending to be a human, entering the safe zone, then injuring me at the most crucial juncture before kidnapping me…"
"Long…Long Zhanye…you - you actually didn't turn into a zombie… How…how is that possible…" Cheng Mingcheng's eyes widen in alarm as a trace of fear surfaces.
It…it is currently the strongest undead walking this earth, but this man is so easily able to hack off its arms and crush its legs. Such frightening strength…could it be the evil energy it injected into his body not only didn't turn him into a zombie, but transformed him into an extraordinary Ability User?
"Why is it impossible? Due to you injuring me, I was able to awaken this formidable power slumbering within my soul." A mocking smile curves Long Zhanye's mouth, void of all other expressions besides malice and scorn. "Originally, I was going to let you off this once as thanks for helping me regain this strength. I was willing to overlook you wounding me. However…if you want to blame someone, then blame yourself for attempting to harm him…"
"You…what do you want…I - I am a zombie! Even if you hack off all my limbs…I will not feel pain! Hahaha…"
"Of course, I am aware that a demon's puppet cannot feel pain. But I can make you experience not being able to live but unable to seek death…" A vicious grin breaks out on Long Zhanye's face. Lifting his free hand, sharp claws sink into Cheng Mingcheng's skull.
The next moment is filled with splattered blood, flying flesh and broken bones. If anyone bore witness to this scene, it will definitely haunt their dreams for a lifetime.
Finally, in the middle of the broken skull still leaking grey brain matter, black blood and pieces of rotting flesh onto the tiles below, a rhombus crystal the size of a chicken egg can be seen. Plucking it out, Long Zhanye carelessly flings the corpse aside before whirling on his heels and striding away.
His has accomplished his goal of coming here. Next…he is going to drag that Demon Ruler out from behind the scenes. Then he will grind that creature's bones to dust.
The blinds are drawn down over the window of the bamboo house, blocking the bright light from shining in. A person rests on the bamboo bed within, covered to the chin by a soft, white blanket. Long, black hair is strewn over the pillow as his chest rises and falls lightly, breath deep and even.
"It's almost midday but Master Yuan is still asleep. Master said that every afternoon, Master Yuan must eat peach puree…" A tiny voice drifts over from the doorway as a small head peeks in. Huge, dark green eyes stare at the person fast asleep on the bed.
"Hmph, isn't it that Heretical Dragon's fault? Dragging Master here and there! Doesn't he realise Master's body is still weak and cannot over-exert himself?!" Another voice scoffs, tone resentful.
"Master was cultivating with Master Yuan," Lu Er murmurs softly.
Things also happened this way in the past. After several thousand years, he is still unable to make sense of why Liu Ying cannot let go of that one incident where Master bullied Master Yuan. It is obvious that Master wouldn't do that again, because he obviously treasures Master Yuan so much.
"That vile demon is using that excuse to take advantage of my master!" Liu Ying yells in rage. [Author's note: My child, you are right!]
"Absolutely not, Master loves Master Yuan very much."
As these two spirits argue back and forth, the person lying on the bed is awoken by the noise. Rolling over on his side, his eyelashes flutter open.
"Zhanye…" His voice comes out in a hoa.r.s.e rasp due to his parched throat. Huo Zaiyuan's brow wrinkles. His body feels so heavy and sore that he doesn't feel like moving at all.
That d.a.m.ned rascal! He was already planning to do this from the start!
Hearing sounds of activity coming from the room, the two quarrelling outside instantly cease and dash into the house.
"Master, Master! Are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere? Little Ying will ma.s.sage it away for you."
"Master Yuan! You've been sleeping for a long time and must be thirsty. Lu Er will pour a cup of tea for you."
Nimbly climbing up onto the bed, Liu Ying's small fingers knead Huo Zaiyuan's shoulder. From the skilled motions, it is evident that this is not the first time the sword spirit has done this.
The cup that Lu Er presents to him contains a fragrant four flowers scented tea. The warm liquid moistens his parched throat and eases some of the aches on his body.
"Thank you very much. That's right, where is Zhanye?"
The past few days spent within the s.p.a.ce, that man will walk here and there, never leaving Huo Zaiyuan's line of sight after they finish cultivating. However, he can't seem to see Long Zhanye's shadow anywhere today, making Huo Zaiyuan extremely curious.
"Who knows what's with him? Yesterday, after Master fell asleep, he immediately exited this s.p.a.ce and hasn't returned until now. Maybe he has burrowed into another demon lair," Liu Ying snorts, full of disdain towards Long Zhanye.
"With this demon, your Master, by my side, I am already deeply satisfied," A baritone voice drawls as Long Zhanye appears next to the bed. Plucking Liu Ying away from Huo Zaiyuan, he drops the spirit onto the floor before taking his place to ma.s.sage Huo Zaiyuan's shoulders.
"My Master is the most outstanding Taoist in this world! How dare you mention him together in the same sentence as a demon?!" Liu Ying growls in anger.
He knows Long Zhanye treats his Master very well, but he still can't bring himself to be courteous to this person.
Seeing the little sword spirit explode in fury, Huo Zaiyuan reaches out to rub his silver hair to soothe him. After coaxing Liu Ying to calm down, he is pulled back to lean against a firm chest as sweet warmth encircles his body.
"Where did you go? I couldn't find you after I woke up."
"I went for a walk to exercise my body, at the same time, I brought back a present for you." One hand still ma.s.saging Huo Zaiyuan's shoulder, the other rummages around his coat before a purplish-red crystal the size of a chicken egg is presented to him.
"This is…" Huo Zaiyuan stares at the rhombus crystal, pleasantly surprised.
Heavens ah, just a large crystal. The zombie it belongs to must have been very strong. Hold on, could this crystal be…
"Correct. This crystal belonged to the zombie that nearly claimed my life." Long Zhanye's eyes narrow, dark pupil flashing gold for a split-second.
Faced away from Long Zhanye, Huo Zaiyuan naturally did not catch this split-second change of eye colour. But Liu Ying who has been silently standing to one side noticed.
This dragon is vicious and ferocious in nature ah. That glint in his eyes…it hasn't changed the slightest even after several thousand years.
"That zombie was of the highest rank. How did you confront it alone? Were you injured?" Huo Zaiyuan snaps around, hands roving over Long Zhanye's body to ensure his lover is fine. Having experienced Long Zhanye nearly transforming into a zombie once before, the very thought of this man being wounded again fills him with fear.
"An insignificant puppet of a demon is not my opponent." A finger lifting Huo Zaiyuan's chin up, Long Zhanye leans in to kiss his lips. "That filth absorbed human's life force and retained human form. If it isn't dealt with now, it would be troublesome later on. Also, it's about time we returned to the safe zone."
Hearing this lofty words, Huo Zaiyuan knows the other is all right and he inwards sighs in relief. Eyes brightening when the older man mentions returning to the city, he nods. "Okay."
 LY is actually referring to LZY by his surname, as it is "龙", which basically means "dragon".