Chapter 68: I Want to Live!
Zhen Jin felt like he was burning up.
After leaving the cave, he proactively stormed the scorpion group and beheaded three spear scorpions in succession.
The silver level scorpion was provoked into a rage, it led the scorpion group to encircle and kill Zhen Jin.
Zhen Jin had broken their tacit understanding, thus the scorpion group no longer played by the rules and pounced on the lone Zhen Jin.
Zhen Jin dodged bilaterally as he nimbly and dexterously scaled the rocks.
The mountainous terrain was unfriendly to the scorpion group; thus the ordinary spear scorpions were greatly hampered. Only the silver level spear scorpion could keep up with Zhen Jin.
Every time Zhen Jin fought it, he mainly defended himself. After exchanging several blows, he would see that the scorpion group was starting to surround him and would then retreat.
“Good, just like that!” Although the pressure on Zhen Jin was great, he was jovial in his heart. It was because the battle before him was what he wanted most—he had attracted the entire scorpion group, thus Zi Di and Cang Xu could quietly flee.
“I need to stall for time! The longer time drags on, the better their chances of escaping.”
However, good times were fleeting as Zhen Jin’s movements turned sluggish.
He was panting, and albeit the fullness of his fighting spirit, his limbs were limp and weak.
On the craggy mountain, he barely dodged a spear scorpion tail as another attacked from the rear to his left with its pincers.
Zhen Jin wanted to dodge them, but because he had inadequate stamina, his movements were too slow.
With a dull thud, Zhen Jin was sent flying by the large spear scorpion pincer.
Zhen Jin was slammed onto a boulder on his back, he immediately coughed out a mouthful of blood and fell to the ground.
As he fell to the ground, three spear scorpions came up to surround him.
Zhen Jin ducked and rolled over to avoid the sweeping pincers, then he sprang up onto a scorpion’s head and leapt towards a boulder.
As he leapt into the air, the silver level scorpion rushed over and launched its sharp tail towards Zhen Jin.
Zhen Jin heard the whooshing wind and with difficulty, he turned around in mid-air, parrying with his spider blade.
The scorpion’s tail clashed with the spider blade, bringing with it an immense impact force.
Just as Zhen Jin was about to use the collision’s force to propel himself to the top of the boulder, he saw the crack in the spider blade expanding at the moment of the impact.
“Oh no!” Zhen Jin’s pupils contracted precipitously, not one moment after he realized the dilemma, the spider blade shattered with a bang.
Without the obstruction, the scorpion tail skewered Zhen Jin’s left collarbone and with its remaining momentum, nailed him to the boulder.
A sharp pang seized Zhen Jin, and he coughed out a large mouthful of blood with a blargh.
He grabbed the spear scorpion’s tail with both hands and desperately tried to pull it out.
However, the silver level scorpion's power was comparable to his, and regardless of how much Zhen Jin struggled and clenched his teeth, it was hard for him to move the scorpion’s tail even an inch out.
For a moment, Zhen Jin was helplessly immobile.
Taking advantage of this moment, the silver level spear scorpion used its legs to climb the boulder.
However, the boulder was steep and its surface, smooth. It was almost vertical. Even though the silver level spear scorpion leant on the boulder and was nearly upright, it could not reach Zhen Jin with its pincers.
The scorpion's tail was long so it could stab Zhen Jin and nail him to the boulder, but the scorpion could not climb the boulder, so it could not deal a mortal wound to Zhen Jin with its pincers.
The battle sank into a strange deadlock.
For the time being, Zhen Jin could not escape, and the silver level spear scorpion could not kill Zhen Jin.
Blood from the wound on Zhen Jin’s left shoulder trickled down his legs and feet and dripped onto the silver level scorpion’s pincers and head.
The silver level scorpion tried for a good while but could not reach Zhen Jin, it became so furious that it produced an ear-piercing shrill screech.
However, it seemed to fear that Zhen Jin would jump and flee again, thus it never moved its tail and continued to firmly fix Zhen Jin on the rock wall.
Zhen Jin began to feel dizzy as he lost more and more blood.
He had also exhausted all of his strength.
Unarmed and defenseless.
The rock wall was as steep as a sharp knife and the surface had no protrusions to grasp onto.
Once the scorpion’s tail was released, Zhen Jin would fall to the ground and be ripped apart in an instant.
“I…am going to die…”
Death had truly come for him.
When Zhen Jin realized this, fear engulfed his entire body and mind.
“I cannot be afraid!”
“I am a templar knight.”
Even though he shouted this in his mind, vehement fear still emerged from his heart and like a flood, it quickly deluged his mind.
If he met death instantaneously, he would not have had time to ponder, and this powerful dread would not have kindled.
However, death was approaching slowly but surely, and the tremendous pressure was not something one could feel by simply imagining it. Only through direct experience could he know how terrifying it was.
After he had killed the monkey bear in the cave, he woke up and felt fear.
However, the degree of that fear could not compare to the intense fear at this moment.
“I knew I would be fearful, but I never realized I could be so greatly terrified!”
He was fearful of dying!
Because of the immense fear in his heart, Zhen Jin then felt ashamed and humiliated.
“Perhaps I am a person who is greedy for life and fearful of death…”1
The young knight’s heart was in pain. To realize that he was greedy for life and fearful of death was far crueler than calmly facing death with open arms.
His blood quickly pooled on the silver level spear scorpion’s head and dyed it red.
Zhen Jin’s vision grew dark, his strength waned, and his struggling grew feebler.
“It is still good, although I will die, Zi Di and Cang Xu will have saved themselves.” He seemed to see the scene of Zi Di and Cang Xu escaping from the cave.
At this time, Zhen Jin felt another surge of absurd thoughts arising in his mind.
“Those weaker than me can escape? Am I, the stronger one, going to die?”
“Were they able to save Bai Ya?”
“The possibility is very small.”
“If I had listened to Cang Xu’s advice and ate human flesh, perhaps I would also have survived.”
As soon as this thought emerged, Zhen Jin immediately repudiated it. But the more he denied it, the stronger the thought became!
Ergo, the young knight felt regret.
“If I die, will my soul have the fortune of entering Emperor Sheng Ming’s sacred temple to become a heroic spirit?”
“It is a tiny possibility because here, my prayers cannot reach Emperor Sheng Ming.”
“In other words, once I die, nothing will be left…my duty, my clan, my ambitions, and my future will all go up in smoke.”
“If I could make the decision once more, I would not be obstinate, I would eat!”
“Why did I recall that memory of my peers and listen to 'hell is at one’s feet, depravation is instantaneous’? Bullshit! I am truly moronic.”
“The answers of others are not my answers.”
“I thought about it almost all night, but did I truly reflect on it?”
“I want to survive, I really want to survive!”
“I realize that nothing is more important than survival!”
“Even if…even if others die, what does that have to do with me?”
“I want to live!!”
Huang Zao screamed these same words.
“I want to live!”
“Older brother, you’re right. You’re going to die anyway, if I sacrifice you, I can live!”
“Don’t blame me, don’t blame me.”
“It is all on you, if you didn’t get wounded, how else could we have run out of water so quickly?”
“It was you! It was you who killed Father and made me an orphan at an early age. It was you who ate Mother, it’s all on you, it’s all your fault!!”
Huang Zao yelled as he watched his older brother and only living relative’s gradually waning breath.
Escaping his trance, he released his hands, drooped his head onto Lan Zao’s chest, and wailed.
But at that moment, Lan Zao suddenly opened his eyes!
His arms, muscular; his fingers, like iron clasps; and they firmly grasped Huang Zao’s head.
Then, Lan Zao swiftly turned over, pushed Huang Zao down into the sand, and sat atop him.
Huang Zao’s eyelids gaped, and his pupils shrunk to the size of a needle, for a moment, the startling change left him unable to respond.
He wanted to scream, but the next moment, Lan Zao struck his eye with his fist.
For a moment, he felt heaven and earth spin as his ears buzzed intensely.
Subconsciously, Huang Zao attempted to reach out to push his older brother away. However, Lan Zao grabbed his arm and snapped it.
Lan Zao had a bizarre increase in strength! It simply surpassed the limits of the human body.
“Ahh!” Huang Zao miserably screamed.
Bang, bang, bang.
Lan Zao swung his fists and ruthlessly beat Huang Zao like a boxer devastating a weak and small sandbag.
Huang Zao was resistless as he was pummeled, he sprayed out blood, and his teeth were shattered.
“Spare me, I am almost dead.”
“Older brother, older brother, I won’t dare again.”
“Lan Zao!! I am your younger brother. Your blood brother!”
“Older brother, don’t hit me, don’t hit me.”
The terrified Huang Zao could only loudly beg for forgiveness.
However, it was as if Lan Zao went deaf as he ceaselessly pummeled; gradually Huang Zao’s movements and struggling ceased.
Finally, Huang Zao’s arms limply fell to the ground.
His eyes, wide open; his face, deformed beyond recognition. He had been beaten to death by Lan Zao!
Bang, bang, bang.
Lan Zao nonetheless continued.
His eyes, spiritless; his lips, pursed; and he maintained his deathly silence.
His punching motions made him seem like a mindless machine undertaking repetitive movements.
Zhen Jin’s vision gradually darkened.
Upon facing death’s door, his mind had become abnormally active, but as his body approached death, his rationality muddled.
Once more, he found himself in the darkness.
It was an infinite darkness.
“Where is this?”
“Am I dead?”
“Wait…who am I?”
Even though there was no frame of reference in the darkness, the youngster nonetheless found himself incessantly sinking.
He had already forgotten almost everything, but at this very moment, an immense sensation of crisis enveloped his heart.
The youngster realized that if he did not do something, he would be consigned to eternal infinite perdition.
But he did not know what he should or could do!
“What did I forget?”
“What am I forgetting?”
“What should I be remembering?”
“Damm it, someone answer me!”
The youngster felt powerless as if he was trapped in a nightmare, his mind was both sober and fuzzy, and he knew he was in a perilous situation in which he needed to wake up but could not.
This feeling of powerlessness made him furious!
This fury seemed to be a spark that ignited something.
A beast suddenly roared through the darkness.
The roar was incredibly vast and unparalleled that it immediately sundered the entire dark space of consciousness.
Zhen Jin, whose eyes were closed in reality, suddenly jolted awake.
His eyes gaped, but his pupils shrunk to their limits, his mouth opened as wide as it could, and he violently gasped like a man who had been rescued after nearly drowning to his watery grave.
A ferocious and strange power began to stir in his heart.
Graced with hope, Zhen Jin immediately activated this power.
The power was like a fierce tiger whose gates had been opened as it rushed out from his heart!
Zhen Jin’s originally powerless palms that had rested limply beside his waist now reached out and tenaciously grabbed the silver level spear scorpion’s tail.
Thereafter, the ferocious and strange power deluged into his palms and made his hands shine blood-red.
The blood-red light overflowed and transformed into four blood threads.
Each blood thread was as thick as an adult’s finger.
The blood threads attacked like venomous snakes and quickly moved down the silver level scorpion’s tail and swiftly entwined around its entire body.
The silver level scorpion looked as if it had been superficially tied up.
The silver level scorpion, however, did not seem to feel anything.
The blood threads quickly dimmed noticeably, as if they had penetrated into the interior of the silver level scorpion’s body.
However, the crisscrossed blood threads soon recovered their previous luster.
“Wait, it seems that the blood light became more irradiant and monstrous than before.”
Just as Zhen Jin noticed this change after narrowing his eyes, he found that all of the blood threads were suddenly shrinking back.
Almost instantly, the spear scorpion’s body was left bare.
The blood threads flowed back into his palm and reverted back to their prior nature as a power, however, the extent of this power was clearly much greater than before.
This power rapidly circulated in Zhen Jin’s body as it converged into his heart.
At that moment, Zhen Jin also concentrated his consciousness into his heart, and once more, he could clearly see the magic crystal within!
“Sure enough, this power really was produced by the magic crystal!”
Just as Zhen Jin had validated his conjecture, the spear scorpion’s tail in his hand suddenly seemed like an eroded bone. With a crack, it ruptured on its own and turned into countless fragments.
Without anything propping him up, Zhen Jin fell down the rock wall.
As his feet landed on the ground, the remains of the silver level spear scorpion collapsed into a pile of ash.
With the strange death of their leader, the spear scorpions cowered, but Zhen Jin’s legs lacked strength, thus after a moment, he fell to the floor.
The scorpions saw that Zhen Jin was weak, thus they surrounded him again.
Several scorpions’ tails swung and their sharp spearpoint stabbed at Zhen Jin from all sides.
Zhen Jin could not dodge nor escape.
In that grave juncture, he subconsciously mobilized the magic crystal as if it were instinct.
The magic crystal within his heart immediately burst forth with effulgent blood-red light.
The blood light permeated throughout Zhen Jin’s body.
Clang, clang, clang!
The scorpion tails’ spearpoints hit Zhen Jin but did not pierce his skin, there were only a series of metallic clashing sounds.
At present, almost all of Zhen Jin’s skin had turned into a scorpion carapace.
In addition, it was a silver level spear scorpion’s carapace.
The scorpion carapace was tough, durable, and fully resisted all of the scorpions’ attacks.
Then, the remaining blood light flowed down and surged into Zhen Jin’s buttocks.
With a soft sound and a sharp pang, a long, slender scorpion tail actually shot up from Zhen Jin’s tailbone.
Zhen Jin changed his posture from sitting to half-kneeling and attempted to move the scorpion tail that had a sharp spearpoint at its tip. Like a venomous snake emerging from its hole, it pierced the head of a spear scorpion immediately.
A fatal blow!
The spear scorpions stared blankly for an instant.
They could not understand why a human being could sprout the same scorpion carapace and tail as them. Nonetheless, Zhen Jin’s actions were sufficient proof of his immense power.
After realizing this, the scorpion group fled and routed one after the other.
Zhen Jin did not pursue as he was still half-kneeling on the ground, he was exhausted.
The young knight’s countenance was frozen with stupefaction as he stared at his scorpion carapace and his long, slender scorpion tail.
“I have grown a carapace.”
“I have also grown a tail.”
“Oh, what a surprise, it seems I can voluntarily control the magic crystal!!”