“Mount Gouwu is filled with jade above and copper within.
Around it roams a beast with the body of a goat and face of a man.
Its eyes are beneath its armpits, with fangs and claws of a tiger.
Its cry sounds like the wailing of an infant.
It is known as the paoxiao, a man-eating beast.”
This was a record from theClassic of Mountains and Seas from ancient China.
Its description was way too similar to the beast that they were seeing below them.
The paoxiao had a name that was more commonly used, which was the taotie!
What the hell is going on today First, I run into all these weird snakes, and then I run into an ancient beast! My luck is bloody terrible!
Wait a moment.
Does that mean that, by the laws of moral conservation, I am destined to draw something amazing from the lottery
Of course, this was just an idle thought.
He wouldnt dare let himself be distracted right now by drawing the lottery.
Pei Mianmans arms tightened around his neck.
People were most scared of the unknown, and that creature below was a horrifying representation of that.
“Do you think itll notice us” Pei Mianman finally recovered a little, and asked Zu An via ki transmission.
She was worried that the monster might hear them if she uttered even the slightest bit of sound.
Zu An wasnt certain.
“I dont think well be that unlucky.”
As soon as he said this, he wanted to smack himself on the mouth.
It seemed like being in this world for so long had undermined his vigilance.
Why the hell was he planting random flags for no reason
Fortunately, that taotie didn\'t raise its head to look at them, but instead continued to chase after those strange snakes.
It searched for them through the white bones.
Whenever its tongue shot out, the skulls that it targeted would shatter, and the snakes inside would be devoured.
Something clicked in Zu Ans head.
No wonder he had seen so many smashed bones earlier.
It didnt look like theyd been destroyed by a weapon earlier on, so he just assumed that they had corroded over time.
He didnt expect it to be collateral damage thanks to this fellows feasting!
At the same time, he was thoroughly unimpressed by those strange snakes.
They didnt seem to be putting up any resistance. Just swarm this dude! Even elephants can be bitten to death when there are enough ants!
Werent you going all out against the two of us earlier Why the hell are you all turning into wimps now
All joking aside, this was their one opportunity.
Zu An turned to Pei Mianman.
“This is a good chance.
Well move towards that tunnel while its busy eating.”
He was actually rather thankful.
If this taotie hadnt appeared, the two of them would have been done in by these strange snakes.
Now, not only were they free of the threat posed by those strange snakes, they didnt have to search for the escape route anymore.
The only thing they had to watch out for was being noticed by that taotie.
But, the taotie seemed to be having the time of its life gorging itself, and hadnt yet noticed the two of them.
Pei Mianman nodded, a twinkle of eagerness appearing in her eyes.
She did not want to stay even a second longer in this place if she could.
The two of them moved towards the hole stealthily.
When they reached it, it was just as expected.
It was close to where the two of them had fallen, and was around five to six meters above the ground.
It was a difficult height for ordinary people to reach, and the special modifications made to the walls made it even harder.
It would be a challenge even for cultivators who had fallen in to get back up here.
As such, there was no way they could unravel this secret.
Zu An again used the Taie Sword and Poisonous Prick like climbing claws, alternately stabbing them into the wall to scale it.
After a short while, they finally reached the hole in the wall.
Some of the taoties saliva still coated the entrance to the tunnel.
It was quite gross to step on, and there seemed to be quite a bit of it inside as well.
However, as they looked upwards at the inclined tunnel, the joy of finally being able to escape was enough to make them completely ignore all of this.
Pei Mianman smiled.
She was thinking about what she should say to him.
After all, she had only kissed him so daringly because she thought that they were already doomed.
Now that there was a hope of escape, she felt a little embarrassed.
Then again, Zu An and Chuyan were already divorced, but chasing after the man who had once belonged to her closest friend still seemed kind of wrong.
Suddenly, blood gushed out of her shoulder, and the smile on her face froze.
She looked down in shock.
A section of a savage tongue had penetrated right through her body.
She didnt even have a chance to think.
A powerful force pulled her backwards.
She was already weak and seriously wounded.
Even though she had recovered a little of her strength, her shoulder blade was now punctured, and the last bit of ki that she had in reserve was instantly scattered.
How could she possibly hold onto Zu An Her entire body was flung backwards.
Zu An saw the tongue shoot out of the taoties mouth and stab Pei Mianman right through the shoulder, dragging her back in towards its mouth.
The two terrifying rows of teeth only needed to close around her gently in order to cut her to pieces before chewing her to a pulp.
Zu Ans eyes immediately turned red when he saw the despair in Pei Mianmans eyes, and how she frantically tried to reach for his hand.
He let out a ferocious roar, and then ran after her.
The tongue was retracting way too quickly, and there was no way he would reach her with his regular speed of movement.
He had to use Grandgale.
He had just barely recovered a single use of Grandgale after all this time, and he could not teleport as far right now.
Fortunately, the taoties tongue wasnt a hundred meters long.
Pei Mianman had already given into despair.
She never expected that she would die in such a miserable way… If she had known that this was going to happen, she would have rather lost her life to those strange snakes.
It seemed like the less painful option right now.
The next instant, she suddenly saw Zu An reappear at her side, like an angel from heaven.
Everything seemed so surreal, she thought that she had to be dreaming.
Zu An didnt have any time to explain.
He wrapped one arm around her, brandishing the Poisonous Prick in his other hand.
He hacked it downwards, aiming for the section of the tongue that had skewered her shoulder.
He was actually incredibly worried.
The taoties tongue looked a lot different from the tongue of a normal beast, and seemed more like a spear than an actual appendage.
It was perfectly straight and covered in barbs.
If he couldnt cut through it, he was afraid that he wouldnt be able to prevent Pei Mianman from being swallowed by this monstrosity.
Fortunately, the Poisonous Prick cut through iron like tissue.
It sliced cleanly through the taotie tongue.
A screech tore through the air.
The taotie was in incredible pain from having a piece of its tongue chopped off.
Zu An fell through the air with Pei Mianman in his arms.
He immediately asked her, “Manman, are you all right”
“Its really you I wasnt dreaming” Pei Mianman wept tears of joy.
She seemed like she had endless things to say, but her brows suddenly knit together tightly, and she groaned in pain.
Zu An quickly removed the piece of the tongue that was still embedded in her shoulder.
In that instant, he felt a stinging pain.
He tossed the piece of tongue aside and looked at his hand.
His hand had been scorched black! The creatures blood clearly had powerful corrosive properties, which was probably a result of it constantly ingesting those strange snakes.
Zu An cursed.
This thing was just as annoying as one of those xenomorphs.
He quickly examined Pei Mianmans injuries.
A bloody hole had been torn right through her shoulder, trailing wisps of smoke.
Clearly, the powerful corrosive properties of the taotie blood was causing severe damage to her body.
Zu An panicked.
He fished out the bottle of antitoxin that hed gotten from Ji Dengtu, but it didnt seem to do anything when he applied it.
Ji Dengtu had never seen a taotie before, and there was no way he could have produced something to counteract its venom.
Zu An took out his Taie Sword, intending to cut away the corroded flesh.
However, the wound was too large, and there was nothing he could do.
If he really did try to cut away the infected flesh, her entire shoulder might fall off, and she would die even more quickly.
His eyes turned red, and he squeezed his fist so tightly that his fingernails made deep gouges in his palm.
Despite all this, Pei Mianman seemed relieved.
“Ah Zu, you dont need to worry about me anymore.
I know that I am already done for… You dont know how happy I was to see you appear at my side again after I was caught by that monster… I thought to myself, why didnt I decide to be with you earlier… Chu Chuyan, the clan mission, I dont care about any of that anymore…”
Tears trickled down her beautiful face.
Her sentences started to become a bit disjointed.
She was already approaching deaths door.
Zu An felt as if a knife had been plunged into his chest.
The pain he felt was indescribable.
“No! I wont let you die!” he yelled.
He was just thinking about what he could do to save her, when Pei Mianman exclaimed in alarm, “Hurry… you need to run away… dont worry about me anymore!”
The thudding of heavy footsteps came from behind him, and Zu An turned around.
The giant taotie was lumbering towards them with a furious expression.
Zu An was horrified.
Hadnt he wounded this thing with the Poisonous Prick Why wasnt it dead yet!
TheClassic of Mountains and Seas is a collection of information regarding mythic geography and beasts.