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    Chapter 75: Siege

    With no other choice, Child of Misfortune Eimo recited the sword formula, preparing to ride the sword away.

    Dian Shan also chanted an incantation, instantly appearing behind the group. Two steel dragons burst forth from the wings of his scapula, tearing through flesh and clothing.

    Each dragon was as thick as a sea bowl, swirling around him and producing a bone-chilling grinding sound as they sparked with friction.

    The corners of his sharp lips curled up slightly, and the two steel dragons immediately lunged at Child of Misfortune Eimo.

    The two iron dragons moved with the swiftness of lightning, reaching Crimson Child Erye in the blink of an eye.

    Only halfway through reciting the Sword Command, Chi Zi'ai immediately sensed a surge of murderous intent, jerking him into a sudden shock, his heart skipping a beat. That beautifully androgynous face, exquisite as if carved by a master artisan, blanched in an instant.

    In the depths of his dual pupils lay the two thunderous dragons, barreling towards him with irresistible force.

    That surge of killing intent instantly pinned him down, rendering him unable to move.

    "Dian Shan!!" Sensing that the situation was taking a wrong turn, Xia Huan cried out and swiftly rushed to Dian Shan's side. A personal lightsaber materialized in his hand, poised to sever Dian Shan's limb in order to save him.

    Dian Shan glared at Xia Huan and scolded, "You pest of a brat! I've wronged no one, so where have I wronged you?!" With that, he struck out with a palm, stopping just an inch away from Xia Huan's chest, sending a powerful shockwave surging forth.

    Xia Huan was unable to withstand the blow and was swept away by the shockwave for over a hundred feet. He slammed into a Joyous God Bureau stone pillar with a loud thud, his body slowly collapsing as he slipped into unconsciousness.

    Seizing this opportunity, Crimson Child Adversity regained his composure. Extending his slender hand, he grasped the dragon's head. A low murmur, reminiscent of an ancient deity, escaped his lips. With a resounding crash, the giant dragon formed from Dian Shan's butterfly bones crumbled into dust in an instant.

    The immense force struck Dian Shan, leaving him nowhere to retreat. He absorbed the impact, clutching his chest as he stumbled backward. Suddenly, he spat out a mouthful of blood.

    He fiercely wiped away the blood from his lips, and the torn butterfly bones and flesh instantly mended. His expression remained calm, as if it hadn't hurt at all, but his eyes were fierce and menacing, fixated on Crimson Child Adversity, seemingly unwilling to admit defeat and ready for another round.

    Crimson Child Adversity replied, "I could only gain the upper hand by ambushing you earlier. Now that we're facing each other directly, you're not qualified to engage me in battle."

    "And what about me?" A faint female voice echoed from an unknown source.

    Hearing the voice but not seeing the person, Crimson Child Adversity responded, "For a dear friend, I would willingly risk my life to fight you."

    "You" – he emphasized the respectful pronoun – ", risking your life." An Zhi sensed something amiss and promptly knelt, "No, no, Yi Shujun is talking nonsense."

    Crimson Child Adversity clicked his tongue, "Kid, I was referring to that dear friend being you. Don't go inflating your own importance."

    As the words faded, a sudden flash of cold light appeared before their eyes, sending Chi Zi'e flying into a corner.

    "Wha-what happened?" An Zhi froze for a moment before rushing to him and crouching down beside him. "Don't you dare do anything to yourself!"

    Chi Zi'e gave An Zhi a weak chuckle. The smile seemed forced, as if it was squeezed out despite immense pain, appearing extremely rigid and strained. He muttered weakly, "Stop flattering yourself... I'm fine, I won't die..." After saying that, he vomited a mouthful of blood and lost consciousness.

    An Zhi stared blankly at Chi Zi'e.

    Dian Shan found great pleasure in Chi Zi'e's miserable defeat, snickering mockingly. He said casually, "Jiao Lin, if it weren't for your Imperial Brother Shangchi City, Yan Shu wouldn't be in this state today. So, do you hate your Imperial Brother?"

    Yes. Initially, she had hated Shen Yuan, but over the past thousand years, as the head of the Joyous God Bureau, she had seen too many people take advantage of the Demon God's name for their own benefit.

    Due to this, everyone despised yet had no choice but to worship Shen Yuan.

    She knew that Shen Yuan was already dead, but the culprit behind his hiding place remained unknown to all.

    As for Yan Shu, if he wanted to become a god, he needed to endure suffering and gain enlightenment. Since he had already become a demigod, Shen Yuan's promise from back then could be considered fulfilled. However, the question was whether becoming a demigod was truly a good thing or not. Jiao Lin had no clue.

    "..." She glanced at An Zhi from afar without giving an answer.

    In that brief silence, Dian Shan's expression turned cold. He leaped forward, grabbing Yan Shu by the neck as a threat, and repeated his question, "Do you hate?"

    Seeing Yan Shu restrained by Dian Shan, Jiao Lin was like a prey cornered by a wild beast, desperate to escape but unable to move. She nodded repeatedly, "I, I do hate!"

    Yan Shu only looked at Jiao Lin, silent and seemingly unafraid of Dian Shan's grip on his throat. His expression was calm, as if he were an outsider watching a drama unfold.

    Jiao Lin struggled, "But I can't kill Shen Yuan. I'm just someone who has gained the power of immortality."

    Dian Shan exerted a bit more force, his fingertips sinking deeply into Yan Shu's skin, ready to snap his throat at any moment. He continued, "What about turning yourself into a weapon?"

    Jiao Lin was confused, "What do you mean?"

    Dian Shan replied, "The book you received from the pastry host, the early intervention of the Joyous God Bureau to capture you, your escape from Wangsi Terrace with just you and that woman, and Yan Shu's stabbing - do you truly believe all these were mere coincidences?"

    Both Yan Shu and Jiao Lin's faces fell upon hearing this.

    Dian Shan shook his head, speaking with a hint of amusement, "All of this was orchestrated by me. Since your reincarnation from the Realm of Ghosts, I have been controlling your fate."

    Finally, Yan Shu lost his patience and roared, "Why did you do all this?!"

    In Dian Shan's grasp, his throat pulsed up and down, the echoes of his voice making his fingers tingle. Dian Shan replied, "That's because Jiao Lin is Wang Wanhe reincarnated. Who else could be fit for the task of slaying gods?"

    Upon hearing this, all those present who were still conscious, save for Dian Shan, were utterly stunned, gasping for air as cold sweat trickled down their spines.

    Then, a rustling sound came from above, drawing everyone's gaze upward.

    A faint purple silhouette descended slowly from the sky, her feet landing gracefully before the crowd.

    Shoulder-mounted, two delicate white feathers brushed gently in the breeze, adding a touch of grace and dignity to her appearance.

    Half of her hair was left loose, while the other half was wound into an elaborate bun. A long golden hairpin pierced through it, its equal ends visible on either side, and attached to it was a plain veil that veiled her eyes.

    If deities oversaw day and night, sun and moon, then her ethereal beauty, cool and enigmatic, would surely belong to the Goddess of Night and Moon.

    Like a bodhisattva extending a willow branch from a pure vase to bless countless creatures, she extended one hand gently and pointed at Jiao Lin, her lips parting softly to utter a single word, "Transmute—"

    As her voice echoed through the Joyous God Bureau, Jiao Lin was enveloped in a brilliant silver glow.

    After the radiance faded, there was a metallic thud, and Jiao Lin transformed into a long blade, lying on the ground.

    Observing this, An Zhi felt a chill towards the woman - she was like a brilliant winter moon illuminating a camellia blossom in a deep ravine, pure, cold, and untainted. The flower was delicate yet obstinately bloomed in the harsh cold, displaying such merciless tactics!

    "Jiaomiao, it's you!" An Zhi leaped up, pointing at Jiaomiao in disbelief.

    Yan Shu looked upon the long blade with sorrow and despair, crying out, "Jiao Lin! ——"

    Dian Shan lifted the corner of his mouth, pushing Yan Shu aside as if discarding worthless trash.

    Yan Shu tumbled to the ground and scrambled towards the long blade, repeatedly murmuring, "Jiao Lin, Jiao Lin...".

    The blade shimmered with a faint, icy light, offering no response.

    Just as Yan Shu was about to reach the blade, Dian Shan telekinetically lifted it into his grasp, casually calling out, "Zhe Dan."

    From the shadows, a ghostly figure emerged. Zhe Dan, who had been watching for a while, finally stepped into the spotlight.

    Dian Shan handed the sword to Zhe Dan, saying, "Empress Jiaomiao bestows upon thee the Pepper Blade. Take it and do what thou hast just desired."

    Jiaomiao echoed, "Go forth—"

    With those words, Zhe Dan's face lit up like that of a child who'd just been given candy, smiling contentedly.

    He raised his weapon once more, charging towards An Zhi.

    --------------------

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