The soaring giant flood dragon’s tail floated in the air, fully protecting Pei Yunshu behind it. The head, covered in scales, faced Zouyu, its blood-filled mouth letting out a menacing roar, a sound that seemed to possess a power to intimidate all things.
Crimson eyes locked onto Zouyu, staring at him as if he were an inanimate object. Zouyu’s instincts forced him to retreat to the other end in an instant.
But the very next second after stepping back, Zouyu regretted it.
The flood dragon was undoubtedly in the process of shedding its skin, with half of its skin hanging down from the middle. The small bump on its head where the horn had yet to emerge was dripping with crimson blood. Despite the fierce blood-red eyes, they couldn’t conceal the weakness.
When a serpent sheds its skin, it falls into a state of excruciating weakness. Moreover, this was a flood dragon on its way to dragonhood, and each shedding of the skin was a hundred times more painful. The rarity of flood dragons in the world was due to their inability to endure the agony of shedding, often dying midway.
If the flood dragon before him posed no threat, Zouyu would never have foolishly provoked it. But at this moment, with the right timing, environment, and conditions, why should he run away?
This beast would still have designs on the beauty before him. Every inch of it was a natural treasure. If he were to kill this creature, the benefits would likely exceed the entire secret realm. Moreover, with Pei Yunshu’s current display, if he were to kill this beast, wouldn’t Pei Yunshu end up crying and begging him?
With this thought, a cold smile formed on Zouyu’s face. He stomped on the ground, and a burst of wind power surged towards the flood dragon. The flood dragon roared, its sound echoing through the heavens and earth. It turned to shield Pei Yunshu, and Zouyu’s attack struck the upper half of its freshly shed skin.
Pei Yunshu looked up, meeting the crimson eyes.
The flood dragon’s head, covered in scales, was right before him. Each scale was covered in mud and dust, and the two small bumps on top of its head seemed to have grown larger, perhaps from the abrasions caused by rubbing against stones. Tiny traces of blood flowed beneath the scales, dripping down, sliding past the dragon’s blood-red eyes fixated on him.
Pei Yunshu felt a pang in his nose.
The vermilion snake tongue slid across his face, and the flood dragon let out a low growl.
After licking away the tears from Pei Yunshu’s face, a coldness flickered in the eyes of the flood dragon, and it turned around to attack Zouyu. The flood dragon’s body moved as fast as lightning, and its sharp teeth sank into Zouyu’s flesh, tearing away a chunk of meat along with skin.
The previously disappeared group of foxes suddenly reappeared, rushing toward Zouyu. Zouyu’s magic had no effect on them. In an instant, he saw Pei Yunshu seated on the flood dragon’s back, and with a leap, the flood dragon soared into the sky, flying through the thick mist and heading into the distance.
Pei Yunshu, dressed in pristine white, his black hair disheveled, remained enveloped in the fog. They were unable to break free from it, yet the dragon could.
The fox wasn’t afraid of him but feared the flood dragon.
Zouyu took out a pill from his storage pouch, swallowing it and clutching his arm, which was bleeding profusely. Intense pain surged through him. The flood dragon’s bite had nearly severed his arm.
“Pei Yunshu,” he watched the duo grow distant, his gaze turning increasingly ruthless, “Sooner or later, I will flay this beast’s skin and take a good look at your performance on the bed.”
Flying through the forest, Zhuyou carried Pei Yunshu.
A cold breeze brushed past their sides, and the dense fog gradually lightened. However, Pei Yunshu had no attention to spare for the changing surroundings. His focus was entirely on the warm scales beneath his hand.
Snakes were cold-blooded creatures, and Zhuyou’s fingertips were always icy. But now, the scales on Zhuyou’s body had grown warm.
The motion of the serpent’s tail became rigid, and Zhuyou’s body grew tense, yet its speed increased. Such an abnormality couldn’t be ignored.
“Zhuyou…” Pei Yunshu used his hand to cool him down, but it wasn’t enough. He leaned over Zhuyou’s body, pressing his cold cheek against the warm scales.
However, as soon as his face touched the flood dragon’s scales, the serpent shuddered, transforming back into a white cloth strip.
The white cloth strip enveloped Pei Yunshu, slipping through his sleeve and disappearing into his clothing. Pei Yunshu plummeted from the sky, his hair falling over his eyes. The weightlessness and the fall spread from his limbs to his core. The vast expanse of the sky seemed to be separated from him by a layer of gauze.
He spread his arms wide, cherishing his own life. Yet, despite cultivating for so many years, he was helpless in saving his own life at this moment. He wanted to grasp onto something, but he couldn’t hold onto anything. A simple freefall from a great height could easily end his life.
From the edge of the cliff, a jet-black flood dragon surged upwards. It was dragging its half-shed skin, rushing towards Pei Yunshu. It securely caught him on its back and flew toward the bottom of the cliff.
The cold wind was biting, and beneath the unfathomable abyss laid a frigid pool. Zhuyou placed Pei Yunshu on the shore of a mountain cave, then immediately dived into the cold water.
Inside the cave, there was a faint scent of blood. Pei Yunshu touched the mountain wall as he stood up, his fingertips pale. Step by step, he made his way towards the outside.
His eyes were filled with anxiety. He didn’t even have time to put on the clothes he held in his hand. He was only clad in a dust-covered inner robe, and he headed towards the cold pool outside.
Zhuyou had saved him so many times. How could he not be anxious to repay the favor?
The cold wind howled from below the cliff. As Pei Yunshu approached the cold pool, the sensation of coldness grew stronger. He hadn’t even reached the pool yet, but he saw the water churning, and a serpent tail continuously thrashing on the surface. The rocks on the bank were shattered, water splashed, and the ground trembled. The scene was truly horrifying.
Pei Yunshu observed the serpent tail, which could practically engulf his entire being. He pursed his pale lips, took a step forward, and entered the cold pool.
“Zhuyou,” he took out his storage pouch, “I have many elixirs in my storage pouch. Use your spiritual power to open it; they will be beneficial to you.”
The roiling flood dragon in the water continued to thrash violently, seemingly not hearing his words. After a while, tiny specks of blood stained the water’s surface.
The water’s agitation increased.
Pei Yunshu’s heart skipped a beat. With a cliff thousands of feet high and only him and Zhuyou below, the peril of shedding for a flood dragon was more dangerous than described in books. Zhuyou was enduring such pain, even dragging himself through it to save him.
Pei Yunshu’s storage pouch contained many elixirs given to him by Yuncheng when they parted ways, as well as some precious spiritual plants. He would use anything that could help Zhuyou.
However, he couldn’t use his inner energy, and Zhuyou was currently in a precarious state.
Pei Yunshu gazed at the cold pool ahead, clenched his teeth, closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and submerged himself.
The bone-piercing chill struck him as he entered the water. The pool was extremely deep, and darkness enveloped him. The moment he submerged, he saw a pair of crimson vertical pupils gleaming. It’s head was incessantly bumping into the underwater rocks.
It relentlessly pounded, smashing its rigid scales against the rocks and opening wounds.
Zhuyou seemed to have lost control, his head bumping against the rocks. The small bump on his head, where a horn should have emerged, was now bleeding. Pei Yunshu watched, feeling the pain in his bones. His fear of snakes was rendered insignificant at this moment. Although this scene could make even someone unafraid of snakes shudder, he swam forward fearlessly, arriving at the flood dragon’s head. He held up the storage pouch in front of Zhuyou’s blood-red eyes, urging him urgently to open it.
Zhuyou opened his blood-filled mouth, sharp teeth threatening Pei Yunshu to back away. Pei Yunshu thought he didn’t understand, so he swam closer and raised the pouch directly in front of Zhuyou’s eyes.
Driven to madness by pain, the enormous serpent lunged at Pei Yunshu, its sharp teeth closing in. Pei Yunshu closed his eyes in fear.
The water rippled, but the pain didn’t arrive. Pei Yunshu’s eyelashes trembled, and he opened his eyes. Zhuyou had turned his head, crashing into the rocks on the other side.
The impact created ripples, and the wound on Zhuyou’s head grew larger. The crimson blood stained the surrounding water. Anxious, Pei Yunshu followed him.
He was running out of breath. This time, he decided to take a gamble. In the water, he swam closer and hugged the serpent’s entire head.
The scales were still scalding in the cold pool. Pei Yunshu pressed his face and hand against Zhuyou’s body, gripping the storage pouch tightly, determined to make him open it.
Zhuyou trembled slightly. The serpent’s tail moved even faster. He darted around in the water. Pei Yunshu, however, felt increasingly breathless.
It turned out that without inner energy, cultivators were unable to soar into the sky or dive into the sea, becoming no different from ordinary mortals.
Pei Yunshu held onto Zhuyou’s slippery, scalding scales, his eyes growing dim. The pouch in his hand grew heavier, like a thousand pounds.
Just as he was about to lose consciousness due to lack of air, the serpent’s head turned towards him. Its scarlet tongue entered his mouth, touching his tongue and providing him with air.
With closed eyes and parted lips, Pei Yunshu embraced the serpent’s head and sucked in the air from the serpent’s tongue greedily.
The slender tongue coiled around Pei Yunshu’s tongue several times before delving deeper.
When Pei Yunshu woke up again, he was already lying on the bank of the cold pool.
He had no idea how much time had passed; the sky had turned dark. As he got up from the ground, he saw Zhuyou, half human and half serpent, lying by the edge of the pool.
Zhuyou’s upper body was sprawled on the bank, his black hair covering his back, while his serpent tail dangled in the water, seemingly lifeless.
Mist enveloped the area, and in the instant Pei Yunshu laid eyes on Zhuyou, he almost thought that Zhuyou had stopped breathing.
Fortunately, in the next moment, he saw Zhuyou’s fingers twitch slightly.
Pei Yunshu approached Zhuyou cautiously, knelt down, and brushed away his disheveled hair. His movements were gentle, afraid of causing Zhuyou any pain. When the black hair was pushed aside and revealed his shoulders, Pei Yunshu’s breath caught.
The two small bumps on Zhuyou’s head had grown into horns. They were straight and short. Just by looking at them, a sense of submission arose from the depths of Pei Yunshu’s heart. The previous wound had healed, and if Zhuyou had been half serpent and half flood dragon before, now he had become a true flood dragon.
Possessing supreme strength, he was the king of all beasts.
Pei Yunshu regained his senses and couldn’t help but smile. Naturally, he followed Zhuyou’s tail with his gaze, curious about what a dragon’s claws looked like.
However, when he looked into the water, he saw that Zhuyou’s tail hadn’t completely shed its skin yet.
The black dragon skin was clinging to the tail, while the shed skin floated in the cold pool. A glance made it difficult to distinguish between the tail and the discarded skin.
“Zhuyou,” Pei Yunshu stared at the skin on his tail, giving it a push, “Zhuyou, wake up. You haven’t shed all your skin yet, just a little bit more, Zhuyou.”
Zhuyou remained motionless, the markings on his face even darker. He was peacefully asleep, and there was no sound of any creatures around.
Pei Yunshu tried to open his storage pouch, but it still wouldn’t open. He used Zhuyou’s hand to try to open it, but the still-unconscious Zhuyou couldn’t use his spiritual power.
“Zhuyou, Zhuyou…” The calls echoed in his ears. Pei Yunshu couldn’t wake him up, and he didn’t know whether stopping the shedding process prematurely was good or bad. In a last-ditch attempt, he pinched Zhuyou’s nose and covered his mouth.
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