QZ Chapter 26
First Published on Ainushi.
Ling Xiao deliberately waited for Ying Feng to go in first before choosing an entrance himself, although he charged past the other person soon afterwards. He was going to compete against Ying Feng. How could he fall behind in the beginning?
Not a flicker could be seen in the pitch-dark mine. Luckily, the Tianxiu people’s eyes were special and they could see just as clearly in the dark. Quite a few wild beasts dwelled along the sides of the path, but Ying Feng didn’t bother attacking them as long as they didn’t attack him first. Upon seeing this, Ling Xiao decided to avoid them as well, leaving them to the students behind.
A number of forks made the roads inside the mine quite tricky. Every time they reached a split, Ling Xiao would intentionally slow down and wait for Ying Feng to choose a path before picking up speed and catching up again. Like this, the two of them continued advancing along the same route with the same speed and soon left the other students far behind.
“Why are you following me?” After they finished off a rodent creature that had pounced on them with one punch each, Ying Feng finally started to feel that the person who had caught up with him was a hindrance.
“Didn’t you hear the instructor? Occasionally, Level A beasts will roam around in this area, and it requires teamwork to take them down.” At this moment, Ling Xiao didn’t know that the baboon they killed yesterday was already a Level S creature. The instructor didn’t tell them the truth in fear that they would become arrogant.
“I don’t need to team up with anyone.” Ying Feng didn’t seem to appreciate his kindness. “I can take them down myself.”
“Then let’s make it a competition and see who can get it first.” Ling Xiao provoked, “But I’ll make it clear in advance: whoever hits it first gets the prey, and the person who is late can’t interfere.”
Ying Feng proceeded without saying anything. It was hard to tell whether he took Ling Xiao’s words to heart.
Ling Xiao didn’t care about Ying Feng’s attitude. He simply didn’t want to lose to him in score. He tailed Ying Feng throughout the trip and snatched every beast he could possibly get. Not long afterward, he had already gathered quite a stack of soul stones.
The creatures living in the mine became exponentially dangerous as they progressed deeper into the mine. More and more beasts would actively attack them; beasts that they could no longer finish in one hit.
Even though Ying Feng didn’t state clearly whether he accepted Ling Xiao’s suggestion, he complied with it in silence. As long as one of them laid a hand on the prey, the other person would never follow up with another hit. Just like this, the two of them took turn and fought their way into the cave. Creatures of Level D and Level E were soon nowhere to be seen, and more and more Level B and Level C monsters started to show up, sometimes even appearing in groups.
After they finished a group of killer bees, Ling Xiao swept away the fragmented wings on his clothes with disdain. “That last one was clearly attacking you. Why did you only dodge instead of fighting back?” Ling Xiao couldn’t stand the scene and had to kill it himself in the end.
“Because you kicked it first.” Ying Feng replied expressionlessly.
Ling Xiao: “…”
Killer bees tended to move about in a large crowd. Ling Xiao’s kick hit quite a few of them at the same time. Even he himself couldn’t tell exactly which ones were hit. Not only was Ying Feng able to remember clearly, he didn’t fight with any of them just as they had agreed — an extremely inflexible person indeed.
“If I didn’t take action, would you just let it attack you forever?”
“If you don’t beat it, I’ll beat you.” Ying Feng answered almost as a matter of fact.
A roar came from not far ahead of them. The sound echoed back and forth inside the narrow mine. Upon hearing such a sound, the two of them stopped bickering at once and they both concentrated on its source.
In biology class, they had learned the characteristics of all kinds of commonly seen species, including animal calls. A low, powerful, and continuous roar like this one, if they had guessed correctly, could only belong to the dangerous reptile which was listed as a Level A creature in the biology textbook — the giant-tailed lizard.
They glanced at each other and immediately sped towards its source. Neither of them wanted to fall behind. A Level A stone was worth as high as 100 points. No one would let such an opportunity slip by.
“As before, whoever hits it first gets it.” Ling Xiao was already aiming his punch at the creature before him as he spoke.
Ying Feng’s powerful fist arrived almost at the same time as Ling Xiao’s. They both successfully landed their attacks on the head of this unfortunate lizard, one from the left and the other from the right.
The lizard let out a fierce howl due to the pain. It had just woken from its sleep with a yawn, yet the invaders had already jumped on its head, causing it to go berserk at once.
The strength of a creature classified as Level A in the textbook was clearly impressive. Its large, heavy tail had tremendous destructive power, and its thick skin clearly further highlighted its defensive ability. Even though it just received two good punches, they were only able to stun it momentarily.
The giant-tailed lizard shook its head and flung its tail heavily, smashing the stone pillar at the side to pieces. Ling Xiao, who was standing behind it, jumped up nimbly to avoid getting hit.
“It’s mine!” Ling Xiao didn’t forget to declare his ownership even at a time like this.
“But I hit it first.” Ying Feng refused to yield.
Just as they went into a dispute over who owned the prey, the lizard had already launched a storm at them. The two of them immediately dodged aside and in the blink of an eye, they were already a dozen or so meters away.
“Ah-ha!” Suddenly, Ling Xiao shouted happily. “No need to fight anymore. There’s another one.”
He gave up the first one and immediately darted toward his new target. “They must be a couple. You can have that one. Mine is bigger. It must be your lizard’s Qizhu.”
“Stupid.” Ying Feng cursed in his head. He turned around and launched a counterattack on the lizard chasing behind him, going from its head all the way to its tail. When he landed on the ground, there was a dagger in his hand.
The dagger had stabbed the lizard in the neck and slid all the way to its tailbones. Groaning in pain, the giant lizard started bashing its tail furiously at the ground. Countless broken stones were launched into the sky and then splashed in all directions. One of them shot really far and even cut Ling Xiao’s face.
Ling Xiao wiped the scratch with his hand. “Take care of yours first!”
“Do I need you to tell me?” Ying Feng leaped up and pressed his dagger mercilessly in between the beast’s tailbones. If the weapon wasn’t so short, the force would have been enough to pin its signature tail straight to the ground.
The giant lizard howled. They were taught in biology class that all creatures would hide their weakest parts underneath their strongest weapons as a form of self protection. Therefore, the weak point of giant tailed lizard must be the area around its tail vertebrae.
Seeing how Ying Feng was already going in, Ling Xiao didn’t want to fall behind. A series of attacks rained onto the lizard in an almost showy manner, making it gradually lose its ground.
“Flashy, but not practical.” Ying Feng whispered a comment.
Ling Xiao was focused on wrestling with his enemy, so he didn’t hear what Ying Feng said. He flipped forward and landed right on the lizard’s tail. The lizard felt his pressure and wriggled desperately to get rid of him, but Ling Xiao stayed perfectly stable, as if he was rooted to the spot.
He gave the lizard a few pats on its butt. “Hey, puppy. Behave.” Immediately afterwards, he took out his dagger and stabbed it straight into the creature’s vital point. After a shrilling cry, the giant-tailed lizard made its last struggle, and then slowly became still.
The two of them each harvested a dark green soul stone. Looking closely at it, there seemed to be something rippling inside.
“So we got 100 points so easily?” Ling Xiao shrugged his shoulders. “This is not challenging at all. It’s even easier than the baboon from yesterday.”
The crackling of the scattered stones along with the crisp breaking sound of the rocky wall drew their attention once again. The battle just now was so fierce that they had broken a wall around them.
“I feel like it’s going to collapse,” said Ling Xiao.
As if to prove his premonition was right, the entire wall collapsed in a loud rumble, revealing the astonishing scene behind.
“Oh my…” Ling Xiao was stunned by the sight, “I was wrong. They’re not a couple. This is a concentration camp!”
At the same time, Zhu Yue was clasping his dagger with both hands nervously and, walking carefully into the cave while staying as close to the walls as possible. He had chosen the same entrance as Ying Feng, but he lost sight of the other person almost immediately afterwards.
His eye sight wasn’t as good as the others and could only see a faint light in the darkness. Any tiny animal hiss from the unknown depths would make his hair stand on end.
Forks came up one after another as he advanced in the cave. He had no idea which direction Ying Feng went. Even the other classmates had already dashed to the front a long time ago. No one would stay behind to take care of a burden like him.
The further he walked, the greater his fear. He was aware that his teammates never counted on him to gain any points from the very beginning. Even if he were to stop here and wait until the gathering order to exit, they would just mock and ridicule him at the most. After so many years, he was already used to such attitudes from people around him.
However, there was still a force driving him forward. If he could just get a little closer to Ying Feng… Today was already the last day of the three day training, but the item which had cost all of his savings was still lying safe and sound inside his pocket.
Zhu Yue was advancing carefully with ulterior motives. Suddenly, he heard a rustling noise and broke out into a cold sweat. He plucked up some courage and turned his eyes to the source of the sound. It was just a glance, but a pair of glowing eyes suddenly appeared out of the darkness and locked firmly onto the invader. It scared him so badly that he almost dropped his weapon.
The beast lurking inside the darkness smelled his fear and pounced on him with a roar. Zhu Yue had no desire to fight back. He turned around and fled like a rat. Surrounded by fright and darkness, he could hardly give heed to what path he chose, let alone where he was going.
Fear brought out the limited amount of potential he had. Zhu Yue didn’t know how long he had been running, but when he turned around, the beast was already nowhere to be seen. He remained in a defensive posture and waited for quite a while, but there was no more movement.
Only then did the feeling of exhaustion start to creep in. Out of breath, Zhu Yue slowly sat down against to the wall. He finally began to consider how to find a way out when he was completely disoriented.
He rested on the spot for a long time before calming down. Just as he was going to get up and search for the way back, he suddenly tripped over a small stone.
At the very moment he fell, Zhu Yue seemed to spot a purple light flashing inside a crack. If the person here was a Tianxiu person with normal eyesight, it would be impossible for them to notice such a faint light. However, Zhu Yue happened to have faulty vision. The light’s strong contrast with the darkness around it immediately caught Zhu Yue’s attention.
He leaned forward against the wall and peeked inside. There was indeed something purple and shiny inside, but the crack was too small for him to tell what exactly it was.
Zhu Yue tried to dig at the crack with his finger, but the solid stone wall refused to shake. Luckily, he didn’t lose his dagger when he fled. He tried to open the wall with its sharp blade, and the chiseling sound echoed throughout the cave.
The wall was extremely solid, but a Tianxiu person’s dagger was hard and sharp as well. Zhu Yue couldn’t tell how long he had chiseled before he finally pried down a large piece of stone. The rubble surrounding it fell off along with it, completely revealing the hidden item.
It was an irregular shaped purple ore that could be held in one hand. Zhu Yue thought that since it was a cave, it wasn’t at all surprising that there would be ores around.
The mysterious ore was stuck firmly inside the stone wall. Zhu Yue continued to dig at it with his dagger, carefully avoiding the ore itself. Getting it out intact wasn’t easy. By the time Zhu Yue finished, his forehead was already covered with sweat.
Zhu Yue felt the ore getting loose, so he replaced the dagger at his waist. He took out the item inside extremely carefully. Looking at it from a close distance, he could see a heart-like light source in the center of the ore, its purple glow throbbing rhythmically.
Should he go back to ask the instructor what it was?
He only took one step forward before the entire mine started to shake. The quake became stronger and stronger until small stones started to roll down the side of the cave and gathered into a stream, making click clack noises.
That was the first thought that came to Zhu Yue. Right at this moment, a low, coarse groan came from an unknown direction. The groan was beating his eardrum, making him feel uncomfortable from head to toe at the sound of it.
What happened? Zhu Yue was only able to take a few steps before the earthquake brought him down. A large rock crashed down right in front of him, the resulting stone pieces flew in all directions.
It was not the only place affected by the accident. Almost everyone inside the mine experienced some degree of a quake. Among them, Ling Xiao and Ying Feng, who were deepest into mine, were affected the most.
After they destroyed an entire wall, they accidentally discovered a whole new region inhabited by dozens or even hundreds of those dangerous Level A animals — the giant-tailed lizards. It was almost certain that this was their den.
Alarmed, the giant-tailed lizards crouching on ground slowly swayed their heavy tails, gazing covetously at the two gate crashers. Some of them were making warning hisses from the backs of their throats. Anyone would tremble with fear at the sight of such a scene.
“I suspect that the instructor lied to us.” Ling Xiao bent slightly forward and flipped the dagger in his hand a few times. “We have something to play with now.”
“Hey, just press the alarm if you’re scared. I won’t laugh at you.” All of Ling Xiao’s attention was on those creatures, but he still didn’t forget to provoke Ying Feng. There was no fear in his eyes, only the excitement from encountering powerful enemies.
“I think you’re the one getting scared.” Ying Feng replied coldly. He had also assumed a fighting posture. “If you want to run, do it now. I won’t laugh at you either.”
That was when the accident happened. A particularly deep and low sound came through, echoing back and forth inside the long, narrow cave.
Not just the two students, even the giant-tailed lizard stopped attacking.
“What was that sound?” Ling Xiao’s sensitivity to danger caused his alertness to increase at ten times the normal speed.
Even Ying Feng started to put on a grave expression. He looked around, trying to find its source.
“Ur….” Another roar came, and the entire mine began to shake violently.
The lizard on the ground suddenly became restless. The next second, every giant tailed lizards started streaming away from the source of the sound. It was hard to imagine they had such speed.
“What happened? Why are they acting like this?”
Ling Xiao was astounded by the abnormal behavior displayed by the giant tailed lizards. But right after he finished asking that question, a strong force had hit him right in the face and sent him flying. He crashed heavily into the wall. Even the terminal on his wrist was completely smashed under the tremendous impact.
The smoke dissipated, and the owner of this terrifying power gradually revealed its true identity. Ying Feng was usually able to stay composed, but now his pupils had suddenly contracted after he made out the creature before him.
“How is it possible?!”
God it’s been such a long time since I last updated it, but believe it or not I didn’t forget about it QvQ. I was just very busy with school starting and everything. In fact, I have two more chapters ready I just have to clean them a little more and let my editor take a look before publishing. I hope to resume my updates on this one. Orz