Xiao Yin Yu couldn't help but stand there somewhat dumbfoundedly as Yin Long fell to the ground. The way he had raised his sword made it clear that he was going to display some strange technique, the odd way space around him started to move also suggested the same thing. But then the ground by him had burst open and a small item had shot out, seemingly merging with his chest and knocking him out so that he couldn't display his technique.
"Oh for Pete's sake, why does he keep doing this?!"
Yin Yu couldn't help but grumble bitterly, her sword sweeping out and tossing aside the stunned elders in front of her. The two had just barely met up and started travelling together, but this was already the second time Yin Long had just fainted in the middle of showing something off. Compared to last time, this time their situation was a bit more precarious, especially when Yin Yu saw the expressions of the elders morph violently.
"The key! He took the key! Retrieve it at all costs!"
The black-haired man with silver threads in his robe sputtered madly, Yin Yu's expression only turning all the more bitter. This was the first place they had visited after meeting up, and it was quite literally the first time Yin Long had moved after entering this land of fractured space. And yet they had somehow instantly buried their heads in trouble like this, it was to the point where she could even question if Yin Long was cursed in some manner.
"Ah fuck it, you'll owe me for this!"
She spat out some curses before pulling back her sword and slicing a gash into her wrist. She swept her arm towards the furious elders, the blood splashing towards them gleaming with power as Yin Yu poured her Qi into it. The blood turned into water that morphed into a two-headed shark, the elemental beast washing over the elders and trapping them inside its belly.
Yin Yu was now much paler than previously, but the elders were unable to break out of the shark straight away so she had at least been able to buy some time. She spun around and dashed towards Yin Long, spotting Jin Wang out of the corner of her eyes. He was holding back the normal students that were trying to approach Yin Long after hearing their elder's order. But now that Yin Long was no longer conscious, he had clearly lost a lot of his inhibitions.
His fangs and claws glittered with blood despite how little time had passed, torn open and broken corpses littering the ground around him. They wanted to approach his alpha with malicious intent, and between this rabble and his alpha, it was clear that Jin Wang cared much more about the latter. So he tore them up without regard for anything, the moment they stepped forward they forfeited their lives.
His head riveted when he sensed Yin Yu approach Yin Long, baring his bloody fangs as he growled threateningly. But she really couldn't be bothered to care about this attitude that tried to prevent others from getting close to his alpha and just flipped him off.
"Oh screw off, you're like an obsessive girlfriend! Just bite onto a bone and follow me before they call out some ancient ancestor to reclaim their reverse scale!"
She pushed out her bleeding arm towards the elder that Yin Long had been fighting, the key bursting through the ground had luckily created a fair bit of distance between them. Lightning shot out from her palm, several arcs twining around each other to form a single thick line that pierced directly through the elder's head and fried what remained of his brain.
She then picked up Yin Long's limp body and tossed him over her shoulder before dashing away. Jin Wang growled darkly, but he didn't make a move against Yin Yu and instead charged after her, serving as the rearguard. A horde of disciples chased after them, their elder had given the order so they had no choice but to accept, even if they had to risk their lives.
Jin Wang turned his head and opened his mouth, what felt like an ocean of swallowing force gushing out as he unhinged his jaws so that they could open at a nearly 90-degree angle. The weaker disciples were all drawn in uncontrollably by the swallowing force, the pressure of it growing so intense that their bones were crushed and contorted as they got closer. By the time they were directly in front of his maw, they had already been compressed together into an unreconcilable mess of bones and flesh, sliding down Jin Wang's throat as if they were just a snack.
Xiao Yin Yu felt like grimacing slightly when she heard the sickening sound coming from behind her. Yin Long was rather neat and clean, especially in the way he fought and killed from what she had seen, so how did he end up with a companion that was this brutal?
But at the same time, she felt that Jin Wang was a good fit for Yin Long, a sort of counterbalance. A necessary brutality that would save him whenever his desire to train or be merciful was taken too far and ended up creating troubles. Of course, whether or not such a day ever came was something she had no way of knowing, she just knew that having such a counterbalance ready was better than not having one when you needed it.
Yin Yu's face turned a bit red just as she and Jin Wang stepped through the open gates of the estate, a bit of blood spurting out from her mouth. She didn't need to turn around to realize that the elders she had trapped had broken free from the elemental shark. She felt a tremendous amount of energy gathering behind her, the elders had probably pooled together all their energy to activate some array or launch an attack.
She didn't even have the energy to extend her senses behind her, much less block an attack or array like this. She grit her teeth somewhat unwillingly, casting a glance at the unconscious youth she was carrying. She spat out a heavy breath after a short moment, glaring at him as if she was looking to drain his blood.
"This one was supposed to be used against Tao Tiankong when he activated that fucking array, you best believe that I'm going to drain you for everything you're worth!"
She swiped her interspatial ring while cursing softly, a palm-sized sheet of faded blue paper appearing in her grasp. The paper was covered with intertwined runes that gathered together to form the image of a serpent that was biting down on its own tail, each rune seemingly drawn with blood.
She gathered some of the blood that had made its way up her throat and spat it onto the paper, the crimson runes on it starting to release an eerie glow. She made a half-turn and threw out the paper, the sheet flying straight like a dagger for a short instance before it stopped and started hovering in the air. The glow of the runes exploded in intensity, dyeing everything in the area a stifling crimson.
And as the crimson light washed over the surroundings, all traces of energy vanished. The quietly activating arrays within the buildings and walls, even the arrays that were activating deep beneath the earth, each and every one of them flickered strangely before fizzling out. All the Qi in the area touched by the light also vanished, seemingly swallowed by the light itself to propagate further growth. Before long, the entire compound had been covered by the crimson light, each active array destroyed while every trace of Qi was erased.
The elders and disciples were dumbfounded by the change, and unable to muster up even the smallest trace of Qi, they were unable to chase after or catch up to Yin Yu and Jin Wang. But Yin Yu knew that the treasure she just threw out didn't last forever so she didn't slow her steps and continued to head for the spatial array they had arrived at just recently.
She jumped into the circular stone formation and cast a sideways glance at Jin Wang, who snorted once but still did as she wordlessly asked. He poured his Qi into the formation and activated it, the three-dimensional map appearing around them. Yin Yu saw that the tide of red light spawned by the piece of paper was already receding so she knew that they didn't have the time to leisurely pick their next destination.
She picked the first available spatial array that she saw and pointed at it, Jin Wang directing his Qi towards it to connect with it. Space around them started to shift, the three vanishing just as the elders reached the gate of the estate.
Yin Long felt his own consciousness blow away as the small item merged with his soul, but to his surprise, he woke up rather quickly. At least that was what he thought at first, but when he turned his head, he noticed that he hadn't actually woken up. He was standing on a seemingly endless arid plan, people and beasts of all different types and sizes engaging in a bloody battle that continued on until it vanished over the horizon.
He knew that he hadn't actually woken up yet because of one simple reason, he had seen this exact battle once before. When his soul had acted up and devoured the bloodline he was trying to integrate into his body he had also lost consciousness and found himself observing this battle. But back then he had observed it in a different manner, it was as if his vision was connected with every part of space and he couldn't move it at all, but this time he was even able to move around freely.
He was smack dab in the middle of the battle, but the beings and attacks all around him simply passed through him, he was still no more than an observer. He knew how things would play out, so he raised his head to gaze upon the vast sky. And sure enough, a massive crack covering the entire sky appeared before long.
A serpentine dragon with gleaming emerald scales descended from the crack, eight thick limbs stepping on the air so that it could fly despite not having wings. Its sapphire blue eyes overlooked the battle coldly for a second, its maw opening to unleash a torrent of apocalyptic golden lightning that ravaged the entire battlefield.
Those that survived the attack bowed reverently as the beast snorted coldly, all of them flying into the air and passing through the crack. The dragon remained in the air beneath the crack, the earth all around Yin Long splitting open into three massive yellow eyes. But unlike the last time he saw this scene, time seemed to halt entirely. And rather than looking impassively at the dragon, the three eyes focused on Yin Long. The eyes were still filled with a suffocating amount of jealousy, Yin Long tilting his head slightly.
"Can you tell me where exactly this is? And also who you are?"
If he saw a scene like this once then it could possibly be called a hallucination, but seeing it twice almost completely eliminated that excuse. He wasn't sure if the three eyes heard him or not, their focus temporarily shifting to the dragon above them.
"He, why can he fly? Why is he allowed a body, to be a dragon? Why must I crawl while he flies, why am I not allowed to be a dragon?"
The voice that rang in Yin Long's head sounded almost like massive stones grinding against each other, as if the words were produced by moving all the earth beneath them. And the jealous intent within them was even more pronounced than the one carried within the gaze of the three eyes, it was as if all the unfairness in the world had befallen the owner of the voice. The focus of the eyes slid down onto Yin Long again, a glimmer of hope flitting through the three eyes.
"You, are you, my dragon?"