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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 17, 2023 5 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Against All odds

Gu Fuyou slowly came back to her senses in a daze, her eyes meeting with Zhong Michu’s. Seeing Zhong Michu’s ever-changing expression, she realized what she had done.

She released her bite, silently lay down, turned her back to Zhong Michu, and covered her face with her hands, feeling deeply ashamed and humiliated.

Like someone trying to escape from reality, she recited a list of comfort foods under her breath, “Candied pork knuckle, soy sauce duck breast, braised beef with soybeans, steamed bass, sweet rice pumpkin, date and osmanthus cake, and a cup of crisp tea…”

Behind her, Zhong Michu stood silently, staring at her own palm.

She understood that Gu Fuyou’s spiritual cultivation had its limits, and that she had reached her breaking point. After a moment’s hesitation and a heavy sigh, Zhong Michu offered, “If you can’t walk anymore… I’ll carry you.”

Gu Fuyou’s eyes widened in shock, much like earlier when Zhong Michu had unexpectedly comforted her. This was surprising because Zhong Michu typically avoided physical contact, especially with her, often stepping back to maintain distance.

Gu Fuyou turned her head, peeking through her fingers with a doubtful look. Although she was skeptical, she had never seen Zhong Michu joke.

“You don’t want to?”

“I do!”

Gu Fuyou immediately sat up. She was really too tired to move.

Zhong Michu swept up her long sleeves, turned around, and squatted in front of her.

Quickly, Gu Fuyou climbed onto her back, fearing that if she delayed, Zhong Michu might change her mind.

Once Gu Fuyou was securely on her back, Zhong Michu rose to her feet. Knowing that Zhong Michu disliked being touched, Gu Fuyou respectfully rested her hands on Zhong Michu’s shoulders without holding her tightly.

Zhong Michu walked with such steadiness that there was no jostling at all. Seeing Zhong Michu still barefoot, Gu Fuyou felt a pang of guilt.

She reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear and nervously touched her earlobe before speaking up, “Senior Sister Zhong, I didn’t mean to summon you while you were taking a bath. I’m sorry.”

Zhong Michu responded indifferently, “I know.”

“I also didn’t mean to hug your waist… and legs…” Although she admitted that grabbing Zhong Michu’s legs the previous times had been intentional, it was out of desperation and lack of control.

“Hmm.”

“You’re still barefoot. If you don’t mind, you can wear my shoes.” Gu Fuyou estimated their foot sizes to be similar.

As she spoke, she bent her leg back to remove her shoe.

Zhong Michu responded, “No need.”

“Okay…”

Following that, a prolonged silence ensued.

Normally, even if Zhong Michu didn’t respond, Gu Fuyou, who was never at a loss for words, would have plenty to say. But since entering the realm of Xian Luo, with one ordeal after another, she was truly exhausted.

Not speaking was boring, so she looked around. Seeing only the undulating sand dunes, she shifted her gaze back to Zhong Michu, observing her.

Zhong Michu moved gracefully, her figure slender. Gu Fuyou mused that Zhong Michu’s delicate shoulders weren’t much broader than her own.

Lost in thought, she was jolted awake by a sudden noise, sitting up straight. She looked around in confusion, realizing she had unknowingly fallen asleep on Zhong Michu’s shoulder.

The sky thundered in succession, and Gu Fuyou looked up to see the world changing color. A cold wind howled, dark clouds gathered, and white streaks of lightning danced between them. It looked as if the apocalypse was upon them.

Gu Fuyou had just awakened, her mind still in a daze, “Senior Sister Zhong, did you summon the thunder?”

As soon as she asked, she knew something was wrong.

As Gu Fuyou looked ahead, the endless sand dunes had given way to dark brown soil, lush green grass, and gentle hills.

They had finally escaped the desert, but before she could rejoice, a strong wind blew. To her surprise, Zhong Michu lost her footing and fell backwards.

Originally, Zhong Michu had been standing on a slope with soil in front and sand behind her.

When she fell backwards, she let go of Gu Fuyou. Although Gu Fuyou also stumbled and fell, Zhong Michu didn’t land on her. Fortunately, they fell onto sand, so neither was hurt too badly.

Neither of them got up immediately; instead, they just lay against the sand.

Overwhelmed by shock, Gu Fuyou stared blankly ahead and asked Zhong Michu, “Zhong… Senior Sister Zhong, what are those? Am I seeing things?”

What she had hastily seen at the end of the wilderness were two giant beasts of extraordinary size. One had gray mane and raised its head to roar at the sky, while the other had wings on its back and looked down upon the earth.

The two gigantic creatures stood facing each other, tense and bristling with spiritual energy. Even from a distance, hidden behind a sand dune, Gu Fuyou could feel the intense vibrations.

Covering her rapidly beating heart, with her hands shaking from fear, she confirmed that what she saw was real.

As she started to speak, the cold air caught in her throat, “Senior Sister Zhong, those two spirit beasts… they have attained the Golden Core Stage, right?”

Zhong Michu’s face turned pale, and she clenched her fist, replying slowly, “I’m afraid they’re beyond Hollow Void Stage.”

“…”

For a moment, Gu Fuyou’s mind went blank, then she laughed stiffly, “Hehehe, beyond Hollow Void…”

She understood the concept “beyond Hollow Void,” the stages above Golden Core are: Nascent Soul, Hallow Void, Soul Splitting, and Immortalization. This means these creatures are two major stages above Zhong Michu. Even the sect leader of Xuan Miao Sect is only at the Hallow Void stage.

These two spiritual beasts possessed the strength of elders in any high-ranking immortal sect.

While the outer layers of Xian Luo are dangerous, there’s no way they would harbor such powerful spirit beasts. Even in the middle layer, such beasts would be rare, let alone two appearing at once.

Gu Fuyou closed and opened her eyes again, but the gloomy sky remained, with roaring thunders and howling winds. All of it was real.

“This must be the ‘unluckiest under heaven, unparalleled in misfortune through the ages.'”

The teleportation formation they had stepped onto at the bottom of the sea had actually transported them directly to the inner layer!

In the chaotic wind, Gu Fuyou’s mind went blank.

If it were the middle layer, even with Zhong Michu beside her, escaping would be extremely dangerous. But in this inner layer, they were probably at the very bottom of the food chain.

It took a while for Gu Fuyou to gather her wits, and she sighed deeply.

Crying and screaming were useless now; They had to face whatever came their way. She rolled over and climbed back to the top of the slope.

On the top of this dirt slope, a few weeds grew sparsely. Hidden behind them, someone sneakily stuck their head out, their bright, dark eyes intently watching the two massive beasts every move in the distance.

Soon, Zhong Michu, who was a few steps away from Gu Fuyou, also peered into the distance.

“Do you think they’ll notice us?” Despite the distance from the two giant beasts, Gu Fuyou whispered, fearing she might be overheard.

At this moment, except for her slightly pale face, Zhong Michu looked normal again, “Even if they did, they wouldn’t care about us.”

Gu Fuyou gave a thoughtful nod. With the two spirit beasts confronting each other and seemingly evenly matched. The air around them crackled with an uncanny energy, a prelude to a cataclysmic showdown that, she sensed, would not end until one of them dies. They wouldn’t have the capacity to focus on anything else.

As Gu Fuyou took a closer look, she finally saw clearly what these two gigantic beasts really were.

What she saw was astonishing.

On the ground was a robust creature with a narrow, elongated jaw sharp fangs, and claws, resembling a wolf. Above, another creature soared, boasting a pair of wings, the body of a lion, and the talons of an eagle.

Perhaps the two spirit beasts were battling over territory or considering the other as prey. Regardless, their confrontation unfolded like an elegant yet perilous dance of blades, with each movement as precise and deadly as a dagger dueling a sword.

The moment the fight began, lightning flashed, and thunder roared, and rain become violent.

At the far end of the grassland, there was a winding river from which dozens of water spouts shot up into the sky like giant dragons, sweeping towards the beast on the ground.

Lightning bolts streaked through the sky, their deafening crashes as if tearing the heavens apart. When the lightning struck, the blinding white light was so intense it was hard to keep one’s eyes open.

Yet Gu Fuyou stared intently at the two spirit beasts, her eyes shining with excitement. “Longxi Shui and White Thunder — that’s a Wind Beast and Zhenmao!” she exclaimed.

Having seen their appearance alone, Gu Fuyou might have been uncertain about their identities. But now, observing their unique attacks, she was confident.

The so-called Longxi Shui is a tornado over water, enveloped by a mist, forming a water spout that reaches up to the sky, resembling a dragon absorbing water.

This technique was the Wind Beast’s favorite move, and only those of the Nascent Soul Stage or above could perform it.

As for the White Thunder, its name described it perfectly, was white lightning. While cultivators typically summon purple or blue lightning, only Zhenmao can summon white lightning.

This spirit beast, Zhenmao, has a unique talent and ability — it can summon lightning, swallow it, and store it.

After cultivators achieve the Golden Core Stage, they must survive the lightning tribulation to ascend to higher realms. If they are not careful and fail to withstand the lightning, the worst-case scenario is their soul scattering, and in less severe cases, they will lose their cultivation levels.

Having a Zhenmao by one’s side provides a layer of protection during these tribulations.

In the past, spirit beasts like the Zhenmao were plentiful outside of Xian Luo. However, because of their excellent innate talents, their cultivation ceiling reaching the Soul Splitting Stage, and their ability to assist cultivators during lightning tribulations, many cultivators captured them to keep as contracted spirit beasts.

There’s nothing wrong with this; anything that flies in the sky or runs on the ground, if powerful enough, people will want to capture and keep it.

However, the Zhenmao’s weakness was its overwhelming pride.How could they willing to bow down as a dog?

When they are young and ignorant, it’s not a problem, but once they mature and their temperament becomes apparent, they become resentful due to the lack of freedom, leading them to seek death or go mad.

Sadly, even knowing the cause of the Zhenmao’s suicides and madness, the cultivators did not stop hunting them.

They reasoned that Zhenmaos have strong reproductive abilities, birthing several offspring at a time with a high survival rate, so losing a few didn’t matter much. If they didn’t capture them, others would, and not capturing them would be a missed opportunity!

As a result, the hunting continued relentlessly until, thousands of years ago, this once-thriving species was driven to extinction outside Xian Luo.

The cultivation levels of these two spirit beasts were rare, and considering their species, they were even rarer.

It was clear why Xian Luo was considered a treasure trove.

Gu Fuyou, engrossed in the battle, had already cast aside her previous fears. A rush of excitement overcame her, even forgetting about her safety.

Suddenly, Zhenmao pounced, taking a fierce bite out of the Wind Beast, and almost tearing it in half with a swipe of its claw. In retaliation, the Wind Beast snapped back viciously, biting Zhenmao’s neck, causing blood to gush out.

Both beasts inflicted fatal wounds on each other, and after a tense standoff, the Wind Beast was the first to fall, crashing to the ground. Zhenmao, standing tall, soon also collapsed, barely clinging to life.

The rain stopped, and the wind calmed. The grasslands, once ravaged by thunderstorms, were scorched black. The earth cracked open, and ancient trees turned to dust.

Gu Fuyou waited a little longer. The Wind Beast showed no signs of life, while the Zhenmao lay on the ground, whining pitifully, unable to stand.

Fearing other spiritual beasts might be drawn by the scent of blood, Gu Fuyou took a deep breath, stood up from behind the slope, and with a determined gaze, walked quickly toward the two spirit beasts, eventually running.

Having the core essences of two spiritual beasts with Hollow Void cultivation levels presented before her was a stroke of extraordinary fortune, the kind you might encounter only once in a lifetime.

Despite the potential danger that the spirit beasts might rally for a last desperate counterattack, Gu Fuyou resolutely continued forward. She was determined to obtain the inner core of the Wind Beast, no matter what.

The Zhenmao lay on the only intact patch of grass in the field, its fresh blood staining the vibrant green a stark red. The beast was still breathing, its chest rising and falling, drawing shaky breaths.

When Gu Fuyou was about ten steps away, the Zhenmao suddenly lifted its head and growled threateningly at her!

At first glance, one might mistake the Zhenmao for a wolf due to its similar appearance.

Its white fangs were bared, blood dripping over its lower lip, its beastly pupils narrowed to slits, and the mane on its neck bristled.

The overpowering aura of a creature in the Hallow Void Stage was terrifying, and even in its dying moments, it shouldn’t be underestimated.

Gu Fuyou’s legs went weak, and she involuntarily stepped back, bumping into something firm, warm, and fragrant.

She turned around to find Zhong Michu standing right behind her.

Gu Fuyou had run over without regard for caution, and Zhong Michu, without saying a word, had silently followed her.

Just as Gu Fuyou was about to apologize, she saw Zhong Michu step aside, not looking at her but instead watching the Zhenmao.

Following Zhong Michu’s gaze, Gu Fuyou looked back at the beast. The previously aggressive creature, which had bared its teeth at her, now appeared much gentler when looking at Zhong Michu.

The Zhenmao’s head drooped weakly, its pupils returning to their normal round shape, letting out a short mournful cry at Zhong Michu.

Gu Fuyou’s eyes moved back to Zhong Michu and saw her expression change slightly, her eyebrows knitting together in a troubled expression.

Gu Fuyou asked, “What’s wrong?”

Zhong Michu walked over and stopped in front of the Zhenmao, saying, “It’s pregnant.”

Gu Fuyou, fearing that the Zhenmao might suddenly bite, moved around from behind Zhong Michu to the belly of the Zhenmao, where she indeed saw an unusual bulge.

Zhong Michu’s expression remained troubled as she whispered, “It’s begging me to help it give birth.”

In Xian Luo, it was the natural order for the strong to prey on the weak. The two spirit beasts had neighboring territories. The Zhenmao became pregnant, but tragically lost its mate.

The cunning Wind Beast had been observing for months, waiting for the Zhenmao to give birth. At its weakest point, it planned to kill the Zhenmao and take its core to further its own cultivation.

But as it is said, a mother’s desperation knows no bounds. The Zhenmao, in order to protect its unborn child from becoming prey, desperately fought the Wind Beast during its labor.

Regrettably, even though it eliminated a significant threat, the Zhenmao was exhausted to the point of death. With its cub still inside, it no longer had the strength to give birth.

Zhong Michu looked down, a look of sorrow on her face, “This is the last Zhenmao in Xian Luo.”

If it dies, there will no longer be such a spirit beast in the world.

Gu Fuyou said, “Then let’s help it.”

Zhong Michu shook her head, struggling, “I… don’t know how…”

Even though she had read countless books, she had never encountered such a situation before. No one had mentioned anything like this to her. She was at a loss.

After a moment, Zhong Michu closed her eyes, sighing, “Forget it.” Taking a deep breath, upon reopening her eyes, summoned Gengchen with a wave of her hand. Her expression determined as she gazed at Zhenmao’s belly.

Gu Fuyou stopped her, “Wait, wait, wait, you’re going to cut it open to deliver the baby?”

Zhong Michu replied, “It’s the only way.”

“But what if you harm the babies inside?” Gu Fuyou asked.

Once Gu Fuyou said this, Zhong Michu’s face showed hesitation, and Gu Fuyou realized she truly was uncertain.

Gu Fuyou pondered for a moment, then rolled up her sleeves, “I’ve read some medical books. Although the method is for delivering foals, um, Zhenmao… it should be more or less the same, not much difference. Let me try first. If it doesn’t work, you can cut it open.”

“Do you know how to do this?” Zhong Michu looked at Gu Fuyou with a puzzled expression.

Gu Fuyou had already rolled up her sleeves, revealing her delicate, pale arms, and knelt in front of the creature.

Zhong Michu’s gaze was rather obvious. Gu Fuyou’s face turned a slight shade of red as she laughed softly, “When I have free time, I like to read all sorts of things.”

Gu Fuyou took a calming breath, gently stroked the Zhenmao’s belly, found the right spot, and inserted her hand.

Zhong Michu watched from the side, her expression indescribable.

The Zhenmao whimpered softly. Guided by her hand through the warm, sticky channel, Gu Fuyou felt the cubs. She shielded them with her spiritual power and gently adjusted their positions, assisting in their exit from their mother.

There were six cubs in total. Gu Fuyou took out one, and the rest followed suit, sliding out one after the other.

It turned out that a Zhenmao cub in Gu Fuyou’s hand had gotten stuck, blocking the passage and preventing its siblings from coming out.

The other five slid out, each about a foot long, their forms markedly less majestic compared to their mother’s imposing stature.

These five cubs lay motionless in the sticky, bloody fluid, their chests showing no signs of movement.

Zhong Michu went over to check and, after a brief touch, looked towards Gu Fuyou, murmuring, “They’re stillborn…”

It was unclear if these five had suffocated from being trapped inside their mother for too long, or if they were unintentionally injured during the Zhenmao’s fight with the Wind Beast. They were lifeless.

Gu Fuyou looked at the Zhenmao cub in her hands. This one was frailer than its siblings, small enough to fit in her cupped hands, curled up with its eyes closed, its body covered in grayish-white fur, with only its nose and paw pads a soft pink color.

As it breathed in and out, its whole body quivered with each breath.

Because her hands were covered in the sticky fluid from the mother beast’s womb, the little beast mistook her for its mother and gently suckled on her thumb.

Regrettably, after trying for a while without getting any milk, it opened its mouth and let out a cry, sounding like a kitten’s meow.

Out of the six Zhenmao cubs, only this one survived.

In ancient times, the sages named this spirit beast “Zhenmao”. “Zhen” represents the thunder position in the Eight Trigrams, and “Mao” symbolizes the flourishing of all things. The name implies that this this spirit beast was powerful and prosperous for eternity.

Ironically, now, this once-mighty race had dwindled to this one frail Zhenmao cub.

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Previous: Chapter 9

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Shakthivel
Shakthivel
8 months ago

Thanks for the chapter

dadin
dadin
8 months ago

beautiful translation

Nabong_uwu
7 months ago

Noooooo, humans are the greediest creatures of all T^T poor baby

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Noooo truly the death of a species aaaa. Goddamnit ;-;;; I hope there is some other secret place where one more zhenmao is hiding.

Hatimo
Hatimo
22 days ago

Poor Zhenmao 😭 wish our heroine can help the mom and the cubs…