Fu Nian ignored the madman in front of him, and he took a step back with his left leg, ready to strike at any moment.
“Qianqi! Take Fu Nineteen and leave!” After shouting this, Fu Nian didn’t give the madman in front of him a chance to touch Fu Nineteen. He launched the concealed arrows from his sleeve and tightly gripped the Fuguang Blade in his hand. He charged towards Fu Zhen.
Fu Zhen didn’t take this minor skirmish seriously at all. He didn’t dodge until Fu Nian was close.
He dodged, leaving Fu Nian to stab at empty air. He then squatted down where he stood to maintain his balance.
“Even the prosthetic limb he gave you.” Glancing at Fu Nian’s exposed right forearm, which was polished to a pure white and meticulously crafted, Fu Zhen’s expression, which was originally indifferent, suddenly showed some dissatisfaction.
Fu Nian didn’t say anything.
He launched another attack towards Fu Zhen.
This time, Fu Nian adjusted his prosthetic limb into a stone blade shape and held it in his left hand.
Seeing that Fu Zhen finally got serious and started dodging his attacks, Fu Nian released the concealed needles.
After a few moves, he saw the concealed needles pierce through Fu Zhen’s sleeve.
“Ah!” Almost simultaneously, Fu Nian felt a slight sensation in his severed right arm.
The concealed weapons that were originally bound to his severed limb, along with the lightweight armor, fell to the ground. There were also the poisoned concealed needles he had shot earlier.
Fu Zhen turned his short blade in his hand twice, sheathed it, and then looked over Fu Nian’s entire body. Finally, his gaze landed on the severed limb of his right arm, and he spoke reluctantly, “How many times have I told you not to try to use the things I taught you against me? Since he made this prosthetic limb for you and created new concealed weapons and blades… he should have also taught you other swordsmanship techniques, right?”
Fu Nian still didn’t speak.
He just heard Fu Zhen laugh inexplicably twice, with a sinister expression and a lowered voice, as if he was answering himself, “He didn’t just teach you swordsmanship that can’t cut through clothing or draw blood, did he?”
“….” Fu Nian’s face showed a trace of disgust.
He glanced back, and the place where Fu Nineteen had originally been lying was now empty, and there was no sign of Chu Qianqi either. They must have followed his command to escape outside.
It seemed that he hadn’t wasted any time.
“Were you thinking of testing your swordsmanship on your teacher?”
Fu Nian didn’t give him a chance to finish shouting. He attacked again, attempting to interrupt his vulgar words. “Are you even qualified to mention Chu—”
Before he could finish, his severed limb suddenly throbbed in pain.
It felt like his tendons were being twisted and the explosive pain shot up to the top of his head. He looked down, but there wasn’t a drop of blood.
“Don’t use this disgusting prosthetic limb and blade against me. If I weren’t afraid of hurting you, I would have swung my sword at your right arm, including this prosthetic limb, and cut it off from the beginning.”
The excruciating pain of misaligned bones made Fu Nian unable to utter a word, and his screams were stuck in his throat.
The temperature in the stone chamber was getting hotter, and the smell of burning corpses filled his nostrils and lungs.
The oil channels around him were already burning with roaring flames, devouring everything that could burn.
The spring that Fu Nian had tried to escape from had almost dried up, and the secret door was completely sealed.
“This stone chamber has many secret passages. Even though Fu Bie frequents this place, he can’t possibly know them all.” Fu Zhen glanced at the surrounding flames and said indifferently, “The soldiers outside won’t be able to catch me. It’s a pity; I overestimated the abilities of that old fox.”
When the pain subsided, Fu Nian gripped the blade again and looked at Fu Zhen in front of him with cold eyes.
“Ah Nian, come over here. Let’s get out together. This place will be completely engulfed in flames soon, and this face of yours took me a lot of effort to sew up. It would be troublesome if it gets burnt.”
Finally, Fu Nian understood why he looked different from the previous life.
Fu Nian muttered and glanced at the direction to the southeast, where the fire was the smallest in all corners.
The secret door should be over there.
He was quick to react, and while Fu Zhen tried to pick him up before he could react, he quickly stepped aside and threw a small blade towards the top of the southeast corner.
In order to prevent leaks and facilitate the use of hanging ropes, there were wooden beams at the top of the stone chamber. Seeing that the wooden material was hit by the small blade and fell down, igniting the oil channels on the ground, Fu Nian finally returned his attention to deal with Fu Zhen.
After just two moves, Fu Nian was pressed firmly on the scorching stone ground by Fu Zhen, who was on his shoulder.
“You can actually see that there’s a secret door over there,” Fu Zhen said, and his tone was obviously not as casual as before.
“I am your disciple after all. I naturally know where you would set up a secret door.” Fu Nian stared straight at Fu Zhen, who was pressing him down.
They locked eyes for a moment, and Fu Nian used his prosthetic limb on his right arm to throw two flying blades upwards.
Two pieces of burning wood fell down.
The flames in the chamber became even more intense, and dancing sparks surrounded the two of them.
He didn’t have time to reach out and grab them, but he was suddenly pushed by Fu Zhen to the side, rolling two steps away, avoiding the falling flames.
Fu Zhen controlled Fu Nian’s struggling body with both hands, trying to prevent him from moving, and attempted to lift him up from the ground. “You’ve burned the way out, and you’ll die too!”
Fu Nian naturally refused to be controlled and tried to break free from his restraints. He couldn’t help but laugh.
He rarely laughed like this.
Even in the happiest moments, his laughter was more restrained than it was now.
Fu Nian laughed so hard that he couldn’t catch his breath, and he spoke with a nasal tone, “I never planned to come out of here alive. As long as you die in front of me, even if someone tries to blame me, it’s worth it!”
After shouting, Fu Nian moved his shoulder, trying to flip over and get up.
Although it was in vain.
The fire was gradually approaching.
The crackling sound of the flames was getting closer, and every breath was filled with scorching hot waves.
“You—” Fu Zhen clearly didn’t expect this answer.
He glanced at the surrounding flames and was about to drag Fu Nian towards the secret door without saying a word.
Fu Nian laid on the ground and reached out to grab Fu Zhen’s knee and ankle, slowly dragging him towards the center of the stone chamber.
In terms of weight and strength, he couldn’t match his master. In terms of martial arts and swordsmanship, he didn’t stand a chance either. His only advantage was that his prosthetic limbs could withstand the heat better than flesh.
Dying together in the sea of fire, he would undoubtedly be later than Fu Zhen’s death.
“When I was a child, I did feel grateful when you picked me up. It was the first time I had someone give me warm food and warm clothing after wandering the streets for so long. You didn’t mind my congenital disability and even squatted down to hug me.” The path ahead had already been blocked by the raging flames, and the place where Fu Nineteen’s coffin had been stored before still had a hint of coolness. Fu Nian dragged the heavy Fu Zhen step by step towards the direction of the coffin.
The ground was scorching hot, and the armor was made of metal, conducting heat. Along the way, Fu Nian had already tried to remove this troublesome armor as much as possible. At this moment, the clothes on his body were already worn out, and he couldn’t tell whether the pain he felt on his skin was from the scorching rocks or from abrasions.
“Fu Nian! Do you really have to die here to be content?” Fu Zhen saw that Fu Nian was determined to stay here and pulled him in the opposite direction with even greater force.
Fu Nian knew that Fu Zhen would not let go voluntarily.
Fu Zhen had an extraordinary obsession with each of his disciples.
“Back then, I thought that if I could meet such a kind person, I would be willing to do even the most despicable things for him, let alone steal, rob, or kill. That’s why I have been the most diligent and loyal among all your disciples for so many years.”
The thick smoke became denser, and every breath made him cough for a long time.
Finally, he dragged Fu Zhen to the side of the stone coffin.
Both of their clothes were torn to varying degrees, and only on the stone coffin could they find some relief from the fierce flames.
“When you asked me to follow the late emperor’s orders, to ambush Chu Zhaoyi, and wait for the opportunity to assassinate him… I only failed once. After returning, I knew I couldn’t face you with shame, so I was willing to commit suicide to atone for my mistakes. But you demanded that I… cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough—”
He inhaled too much smoke, and Fu Nian couldn’t even speak loudly.
Before he could finish coughing, he suddenly felt his hair being yanked up violently, and his hairpin fell to the ground with a muffled sound.
He couldn’t even catch his breath to scream in pain.
“From the moment I picked you up, I never treated you the same as the other disciples. Your loyalty, your immersion in your role, is just even—”
Fu Nian didn’t wait for Fu Zhen to finish speaking. He reversed his hand and stabbed a knife into Fu Zhen’s chest.
“Ah—!” There was an expression of disbelief in Fu Zhen’s eyes.
Then, he spewed a mouthful of blood, and even in his deep gaze, there was a hint of confusion.
Crimson blood sprayed everywhere, staining Fu Nian’s body, the surrounding red-hot rocks, and everything else.
The two of them had long been doomed to not escape from here. Fu Nian could only succeed when Fu Zhen let his guard down.
Fu Nian’s desire to kill Fu Zhen was fulfilled.
In the midst of the billowing smoke, Fu Nian felt his dizziness getting worse. He pulled out the Fuguang Blade, wiped the blood from his face, and pressed it tightly to his chest.
The flames had already burned to his hand.
The sensation of pain had become less pronounced, and the satisfaction of killing Fu Zhen and the flashbacks before death were enough for him to ignore all the physical pain.
And the burning smell of blood.
In the chaos, Fu Nian felt a trace of coolness on his cheek. A voice brushed past him like a wisp of air.
“Good, Ah Nian, don’t move anymore…”
Yes, besides killing his master, there were other things he hadn’t finished.
The heart-connecting gu… the one who planted the Gu for him!
And Chu Zhaoyi, he must be very sad. It’s not just because his obedient dog has died…
When he saw Fu Zhen, hatred had blinded his reason. Before stabbing Fu Zhen’s heart, he had already put aside the matter of repaying his debt.
“I’m sorry…” In the last moment of confusion, Fu Nian whispered softly to the unknown benefactor and Chu Zhaoyi.
The voices around him were muffled and chaotic.
He struggled to open his eyes, but his vision was still blurry and unclear.
Apart from the burning pain on his back, there was also a dull ache in his abdomen.
It wasn’t a burn, but it was painful enough to cloud his senses.
“In winter, with snow around, how did such a big fire start…”
“Who knows? If it weren’t for going up the mountain to gather herbs, he would have died long ago…”
“You don’t know how shocking the scene was at the time.”
Fu Nian listened to the voices around him, trying to make sense of them.
They all sounded unfamiliar, and the way they spoke was like local gossiping neighbors.
He should still be alive; the deities in the underworld wouldn’t speak in this gossipy tone. That’s what he thought.
“How shocking was it?”
“When they were found inside a stone coffin, the person lying on top of this man was already completely burnt, and it was impossible to tell whether it was a man or a woman, a human or a ghost. Even the human shape was almost unrecognizable. The only thing that could confirm their identity was a long sword, hanging precariously on the charred body. This living man was protected by that burnt person, and with the cover of the stone coffin, he remained almost unscathed… When we found them, we could still feel that this man was breathing. My brother and I tried our best but couldn’t get this man out from under the burnt person. In the end, my brother had to break one of the burnt person’s blackened hand bones…”