Chapter 66: Depravation Is Instantaneous

Huang Zao was extremely thirsty.

There seemed to be a sun wedged into his throat, his entire pharynx and his radix linguae were half cooked, making him incapable of speech.

Huang Zao was extremely hungry.

He was so hungry that his abdomen was plastered against his vertebral column, his whole body was limp, he staggered as he trudged, tranced in a dizzy spell, and even had hallucinations.

In his hallucinations, he felt that he was walking amongst the clouds. But there was a giant mountain pressing down on him.

The heavy mountain wanted to squish him into paper.

Soon after, this giant mountain’s image transformed, turning into a goat horned devil.

The devil opened its bloody mouth wide open like a sacrificial bowl1 and shouted into his ears—eat! Eat him! Eat him!

Huang Zao felt terrified, he wanted to hurl the giant mountain or devil off of his back. But his hands and his arms were numb and ignored his instructions, leaving him to carry the mountain or devil on his back.

Then the devil on his back quickly changed again.

The devil became a suckling pig.

The suckling pig exuded a foul odor of sweat and the smell of putrid wounds.

Huang Zao looked down, he saw a flame burning within his belly.

It was a ball of raging fire.

It burned vigorously, and quickly proliferated, in a split second, the colossal flame engulfed Huang Zao’s entire body.

The flame then spread to the suckling pig on his back and turned the latter into a roasted suckling pig.

The fragrance of food seemed to assail his nose in that second.

“No, never.” As if smelling this fragrance, Huang Zao shivered from head to toe, as if receiving an electric shock, he miraculously escaped the hallucination.

He returned to reality.

Before him was an abysmally dark night, such that he was unable to discern his own hands.

In his ears rung ceaselessly the ice-cold whistles of the night breeze.

His older brother he carried on his back still remained unconscious.

He staggered forward, limping as if he were a puppet.

Extremely insignificant, extremely lonely.

Huang Zao did not realize that he was shedding tears.

He gazed forward, as if there were light ahead, as if there were a vast and smooth road ahead.

He said to himself in his heart: “Night will soon pass and dawn will soon come.”

“Persevere, keep persevering, Huang Zao.”

“There should be an oasis up ahead! The oasis that you and the other team members reached in the past.”

“Look at the terrain, doesn’t it seem familiar?”

“You’re getting closer, you’ve nearly reached the oasis! Keep persevering, you must not relax.”

“There surely is an oasis, there surely must be.”

“When you reach the oasis, you will have water and you will have prey. You can hunt, you are a strong bronze level expert.”

“You will not die, you will never die. Your older brother will not die either!”

“He will be saved by you!!”

While Huang Zao firmed his own beliefs, Zhen Jin felt himself teetering.

Hunger tormented him.

Every cell in his body was shouting: ‘Food! Food! I don’t care what kind it is, just give me food!’

“Cang Xu is right, what happens here is something others will not know about. If Zi Di survives, she would be even more grateful towards me. If it really doesn’t work, then I can only abandon her, as long as I survive, I can continue to shoulder the burden of revitalizing my clan.”

As soon as this thought emerged in his mind, Zhen Jin shivered, despite the cave being awfully sultry.

Immediately, an intense sensation of shame washed over Zhen Jin, making his face burn hot.

He felt how hideous he was.

Was he so afraid of his own demise?

Another thought surfaced: “If I eat this…food, my stamina will greatly recover. With enough stamina, I will definitely be able to confront this challenge more calmly. I eat this meat not for myself. I do it to get rid of the silver level spear scorpion and to defeat the entire scorpion group. That way, no one will die. I will not, Zi Di will not, and Cang Xu will not…I am doing it for them!”

This notion enticed him more than previous ones.

Afterwards, thoughts emerged and waned, being replaced by new surfacing ones.

Zhen Jin knew he was vacillating!

The cave walls he relied on were incapable of giving him firm support anymore.

Although Cang Xu and Zi Di remained silent, while Bai Ya was motionless; their mere existence itself seemed to be oppressing the poor youngster.

“I am a templar knight, could a templar knight do such a thing?” Zhen Jin asked himself.

He began to reflect on himself.

“Did things fall to this point because I made mistakes as the leader?”

“On how many occasions did I fail to act correctly?”

“Was I overreaching when I set up a battlefield here to deal with the scorpion group?”

“If I had known this, would I have chosen a different path?”

Zhen Jin began to doubt himself, and the doubt increased his indecision.

Zhen Jin dithered.

“If I eat them as just food, will it torment me when I reminisce of yore in the future? Or will I not have a shred of regret?”

“If I don’t eat them, how can I fulfil my responsibilities? Am I going to have to watch my fiancée die?”

“In order to save me, she did not hesitate to risk her life, so many times she only barely made it out alive.”

“My father too expects that I will bring hope for the clan. I am the Bai Zhen Clan’s sole heir!”

“What about myself? I suffered ostracism and accumulated in silence, all in order to one day rise up and humiliate my rivals. Would my past self hold me in contempt for my choices?”

At this moment, a memory appeared in his mind.

It was a meticulously adorned luxurious and extravagant room. Paintings drawn by famous maestro artists hung on the walls, expensive perfume wafted through the air, and rose gold curtains were pulled up to block most of the sunlight, causing the room to appear dusky and ambiguous.

There was a female dancer wearing exotic clothing from the northwestern part of the empire, the purple veil she wore made her beautiful visage more enigmatic and alluring. Her body was seductive and enchanting, voluptuous on front and back. Her dancewear was mostly red laced with gold threads. They were short and close-fitting, exposing her slender arms and snow white naval.

As the dance music ended, she stepped onto the thick carpet with one foot and slowly raised the other in sync with the melody of the music until it was up to her waist. She clasped her hands together and remained motionless.

Presently, the toe of her footwear was curved over the upper, exposing most of her instep, under the candlelight, it had a crystalline lustre, throbbing the hearts of men and causing them to wish to nibble at it.1

Her visage was dignified, her beautiful eyes were like amber, and her motionless posture fully exhibited her beautiful feminine body.

The room also had three gaping youngsters.

After a moment, the youngsters responded by applauding one after the other.

The dancing woman slowly lowered her leg, stood upright, and then made a slight bow.

“This is Dancer Ji Si, who recently became all the rage in the capital; she really does deserve her reputation.” One of the youngsters complimented sincerely.

Zhen Jin was one of the three youngsters, his attention was mainly focused on another youngster, who possessed an extraordinary identity.

Zhen Jin laughingly asked: “An Ge, didn’t you ask me to show you Ji Si’s dance? How is it? I get to call the shots here and I can give Miss Ji Si to you. You can use her to warm your bed tonight. Hahaha.”

“What?“ The youngster who spoke previously immediately shook and stared at An Ge with envy.

An Ge’s appearance was vastly different from that of Zhen Jin.

Although both of them were handsome, Zhen Jin had blond hair and deep blue eyes while An Ge had long black hair and very unique eyes. His scleras were pitch black and seemed to wrap around his white pupils, delineating a light of indifference.

No matter when he sat, his body was always upright.

But at this moment, An Ge gazed at Dancer Ji Si on the stage and subconsciously leaned forward.

As long as he spoke a word, this alluring dancer would be his.

A temptation, a great temptation!

An Ge’s Adam’s apple rolled, swallowing a mouthful of saliva.

He gazed at Ji Si, his gaze full of desire to seize and possess her. As if his gaze was too scorching, Dancer Ji Si bashfully lowered her head, revealing her snow white neck.

The submissive attitude made An Ge’s nether regions rise with a hot sensation.2

Seeing An Ge’s current demeanor, Zhen Jin revealed a smile that implied smugness.

An Ge ordinarily followed the rules and maintained discipline, he was the most respected and hardest working individual in the Fifth Templar Regiment.

But the youngster lusted after beauties. As long as he was a normal man, it was unavoidable. Even people who normally suppressed themselves would become very terrifying once they released their desires.

However, much to Zhen Jin’s surprise, as time passed, An Ge’s demeanor became ferocious, and then he gradually calmed down to his usual serenity.

“An Ge…you?” The other youngster also noticed the change in An Ge’s demeanour and became perplexed.

An Ge smiled and calmly stretched out his arm to wipe away his cold sweat.

“Difficult, it is indeed difficult to resist the temptation of beauty.” He seemed to have some lingering fears, “However, this beauty has no value to me. I do not want her.”

Zhen Jin was puzzled: “What do you mean?”

An Ge said: “Zhen Jin, thank you for helping me with this matter. Truth be told, cutitivation is not only about cultivating one’s body, it is also about cultivating one’s mind. Do you know the clan motto of my An Hui Clan?”

Zhen Jin nodded, the clan mottos of great noble clans were always widely circulated.

An Ge continued: “My clan’s bloodline originates from an abyss demon. This bloodline is powerful, and grants my clansmen a strong cultivation aptitude. However, it is also very dangerous, there are often clansmen that indulge in their desires and cannot extricate themselves from them, this causes them to lose their rationality and become chaotic lunatics. As a result, my clan’s motto is this—hell is at one’s feet, depravation is instantaneous. Our clan motto is a caveat to us to maintain our vigilance; desire is an abyss and if we are careless we will turn into demons that cease to be humans.”

The other youth suddenly saw the light: “So this is actually your cultivation?”

An Ge nodded and gazed at Zhen Jin: “Zhen Jin, you and I are colleagues. This time, you have helped me, thus I will advise you. Cultivating yourself must be the main focus, blindly currying favor with others will only be leaves fluttering in the wind.”

Upon saying this, An Ge got up and left despite Zhen Jin’s unsightly complexion.

The memory waned as Zhen Jin suddenly woke up.

Before he knew it, his entire body was covered in cold sweat.

His entire body felt weak.

Another piece of his memory was restored, however it did not give him any obvious improvements.

Yet, those words were very profound.

“Hell is at one’s feet, depravation is instantaneous.” Zhen Jin could not help but murmur.

Looking back on this new memory, Zhen Jin began to analyze.

“The An Hui Clan is a great imperial nobility, Archduke An Hui is a living god and also the right-hand man of Great Emperor Sheng Ming. As Archduke An Hui’s son, An Ge’s status is very secure and he undoubtedly does not need to curry favor with others. However, my Bai Zhen Clan needed to gain a foothold so becoming friends with An Ge was a sensible action.”

“Ji Si…really was a flirtatious and attractive woman. It seems that I controlled her freedom and enabled the spreading of her fame widely across the capital city, this is proof that the Bai Zhen Clan certainly has resources and influence in the capital city. A lean camel is still bigger than a horse, the Bai Zhen Clan is indeed worthy of being an old southern nobility.”

“On the other hand, I can also see how successful my act of laying-low patiently was. An Ge also misinterpreted me and thought I was currying favor. I am a bit curious, how is the relationship between me and An Ge after that event? Did I ever make any headway in becoming friends with him?”

Perceiving the deluge of thoughts surging in his mind, Zhen Jin shook his head slightly and ceased making stabs in the dark.

Now was not the time to ruminate over these things.

Although the recovered memory did not increase Zhen Jin’s battle strength, it unexpectedly solved his quandary.

“Hell is at one’s feet, depravation is instantaneous.”

“Am I on the brink of depravity?”

“What a close call! I almost befouled my knight’s armor with indelible filth.”

“I am a brave, noble, and resolute templar knight! Even though I face the pressure of death and have my responsibilities threatened, I must abide by the knight’s path!!”

Zhen Jin spat out a breath of turbid air as if he were unloading a heavy burden from his body.

He slowly got up.

The movement immediately attracted Zi Di’s and Cang Xu’s gazes, when they saw Zhen Jin’s calmness, they realized that Zhen Jin had made his decision.

“Lord Zhen Jin.” Cang Xu’s eyes gazed with expectation.

But Zhen Jin shook his head slightly: “I will not treat human beings as food!”

Cang Xu gaped slightly and revealed an intense complexion of disappointment.

Zhen Jin’s eyes were clear and he forestalled Cang Xu from trying to persuade him: “Don’t try to persuade any longer, I have already made my decision.”

He shifted his gaze to Zi Di with a trace of apology.

Zi Di was understanding and shook her head: “My Lord, you and I are one, your decision is my decision.”

Zhen Jin smiled: “Let’s go. Based on the time, when we reach the cave’s mouth, we will greet the light of dawn.”