Chapter 21 – Heart Linking Technique

There were two ghosts who had vanished and couldn’t be located.
Using the Five Phases Swordplay, Dugu Zhuo solidified a wind sword in midair, which he stepped onto, surveying the courtyard from above.

The cloth covering the sky should be the treasure of ghostkind, Sunshade, capable of temporarily blocking out sunlight and allowing ghosts to be at full power during the day.
After ghosts solidified a form, it would no longer have any use for them.

Just like human cultivators had the stages of Qi Refining, Foundation Establishment, Core Formation, Nascent Soul, Deity Transformation, and so on, ghost cultivators were split into the stages of Soul Gathering, Soul Condensing, Soul Solidification, Body Solidification, Ghost General, and so on.
Body Solidification was equivalent to Nascent Soul stage in a human, and before a ghost reached that, the Sunshade was an incredibly powerful artifact.

Who knew where these players had gotten something so impressive.
Even Ye Zhou’s sword couldn’t cleave through it.

Fortunately, in order to maintain the Sunshade, one ghost had to continually supply spirit stones, basically equivalent to how they had Black Cat maintaining the Misdirection Array.
Black Cat was also similarly hidden, lurking on the shadowy roof eaves.

Everyone in the party knew the Misdirection Array, though, so even if Black Cat was found, any of the remaining four could take over maintaining it.
However, the other team had only two ghosts.
Instead of fighting the jiangshi and demons head-on, they might as well spend their efforts on dealing with the ghosts.
If the Sunshade’s effect wore off, the veiled team would have no combat ability under the light of noon.

Dugu Zhuo didn’t know, however, whether the artifact and battle tactics he was familiar with would be the same in this world.

Just then, he heard Ye Zhou speak in the party chat.
“The thing blocking the light is Sunshade, a power-up item for ghosts from the PC version.
It can only be used by ghosts, so we just need to get rid of the two ghost players.
I just don’t know whether this requirement has been changed in the VR game.”

It looked like they were the same.
Ye Zhou’s words banished Dugu Zhuo’s doubts.

“It’s worth trying,” Dugu Zhuo said.
“Everyone else, keep the three other players busy, I’ll deal with the ghosts.”

“Black Cat, transfer the array’s control to me,” he ordered.

“You keep calling me Black Cat.
Can’t you call me Jet?” Black Cat swished his tail back and forth in dissatisfaction, but transferred the control of the array over to his party member.

The other person had to be a party member and know the array for the transfer to be successful.
However, Black Cat currently held all the spirit stones, so once Dugu Zhuo expended too much of the spiritual energy, he would have to transfer it back to Black Cat.

Circulating his spiritual energy, Dugu Zhuo changed the array’s illusion from white mist into a forest of peach trees.

He then transferred the array back to Black Cat and ordered, “Add spirit stones.”

“No way! You expended half the spiritual energy at once?” All 99 spirit stones held less than half of their original spiritual energy, with over a dozen already at 5%.
Black Cat quickly replaced eighteen of the stones, leaving him with only nineteen.

“I can only maintain it for two more minutes!” Black Cat cried.
“After two minutes, we’ll lose the ability to hide and be defenseless facing the opponents’ power-up!”

“It’s enough,” Dugu Zhuo said.

Within the forest, Ye Zhou, Aotian, and Qingyue employed guerrilla tactics against their opponents under the cover of the array.
They were all low-level and didn’t have much combat power, purely relying on maneuvering, stamina, and endurance.
The group of three slunk through the forest, retreating after every attack, incessantly wearing down the opponents’ stamina and health.

Meanwhile, the demons and jiangshi tanked their attacks with their high defenses and health.

Ye Zhou struck a critical hit with his sword, which doubled his attacking power and took out 60% of the jiangshi’s health at once.

One of their enemies was close to falling.
Yet the next time Qingyue swung her whip, the jiangshi grabbed it, pulling Qingyue over.

Aotian brought out his fan, about to cut through Qingyue’s whip, when the jiangshi plucked out his two canine teeth and threw them at Qingyue’s neck.
Two holes appeared on Qingyue’s neck, dropping her HP by 60%, while the jiangshi was fully healed.

Aotian’s fan finally arrived, slicing through the whip, and Qingyue hid within the array again.

As she left the range of the bloodsucking attack, those two teeth returned to the jiangshi’s mouth.

“Come on! Didn’t you tell me that in the PC game, jiangshi had to grab another player’s neck in order to suck their blood and heal themselves?” Qingyue yelled at Aotian, holding her neck.
“How come now they can throw their teeth? If I’d known, I would’ve let go earlier!”

It wasn’t that she hadn’t been able to escape, since she could’ve simply abandoned her weapon.
She still had a jade hairpin for close-ranged attacks, so she had been planning to stab the jiangshi with it once he pulled her close, in order to strike the final blow against this opponent.

Who knew about this change that a jiangshi could now throw teeth, turning their bloodsucking attack’s range from ten centimeters to two meters!

“I guess in a VR game, this kind of scene of grabbing someone’s neck and sucking their blood won’t pass the censors,” Aotian said awkwardly.

Fortunately, he had brought a lot of healing medicine.
Qingyue swallowed three or four at once, bringing her health to above 70%.

She had just gotten up when the jiangshi pointed at them.
“Over there!”

The two demons charged towards Qingyue, each hurling a ball of demonic fire.
Upon hitting Qingyue, the dark green flames took her HP down to 10%.

Qingyue touched the holes on her neck and immediately realized that the jiangshi had found her using the yin energy remaining in her wounds.
“Keep away from me,” she called out.

She was about to be overwhelmed, and no one in the party could revive, so she could only wait to die.

Ye Zhou wanted to back her up, but suddenly his entire body felt cold, and he found himself unable to control his movements, swinging his sword toward Aotian.

Possession! This was the ghost race’s innate ability, to enter a player’s body and take control of an enemy.

Among the different races in Nine Heavens, humans had the most average stats without any particular strong point, so they were the weakest race at the beginning.
Ghosts, yao, demons, and spirits each had their own innate abilities, but humans didn’t get anything special.

Ye Zhou’s strike hit Aotian.
Ye Zhou’s sword was overwhelmingly powerful, and even without a critical hit, it took out 50% of Aotian’s HP.
Together with the previous attacks of the demons, Aotian’s health was now at a critical state.

“You’re still not ready?” Black Cat yelled, as he constantly replenished spirit stones.
“I’m down to five stones!”

Dugu Zhuo, who had been standing in midair and searching for the two ghosts all this time, formed two different hand seals in his hands, manifesting a wind sword and wood sword.

In the Eight Trigrams, Xun was wind, associated with wood in the five phases.
Aside from metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, the Five Phases Swordplay could also manifest five derivative attributes.
Dugu Zhuo couldn’t simultaneously use swords of two different attributes, but he could use two different versions of the same attribute.

The wind sword swept chaotically through the peach forest, stirring up a flurry of peach blossom petals, which finally revealed the outline of a person at the door of the tofu workshop.

Peach trees protected against evil spirits, so even though a ghost could pass through solid objects, they wouldn’t be able to phase through peach blossoms.

“Found one.” The moment the ghost was visible, Dugu Zhuo struck with the wood sword.
The countless peach blossoms transformed into blades, instantly eliminating the ghost in a thousand slashes.

With the death of Ghost One, the Sunshade was about to fall.
Ghost Two cried, “Oh no!” and immediately stopped possessing Ye Zhou, about to take over the Sunshade.

This was exactly the chance Dugu Zhuo had been waiting for.
Wind blades and flower petals danced around Ye Zhou, and the moment the ghost left his body, the flower petals swallowed him and punched him full of holes.

The Sunshade now fell, leaving the light of noon to illuminate the remaining three.

The jiangshi cried out in pain and shielded his eyes.
Qingyue, with only a sliver of her health remaining, brought out her hairpin and stabbed him in the forehead.
He turned to ashes under the sun’s rays.

Meanwhile, Ye Zhou and Aotian also took advantage of the light and took out the two demons in a few attacks.

Now that the veiled team had been entirely eliminated, the Sunshade vanished, and at the same time Black Cat lost the ability to maintain the Misdirection Array.
It disappeared, returning the courtyard to normal.

“Don’t they leave corpses?” Qingyue rubbed her neck, finding that the wounds on it had vanished under the sunlight.

“I guessed they returned to their spawn point,” Aotian said.
“We spawn in Zhulong Town, so we leave corpses here.
Ghosts and demons spawn in the Netherworld, so their corpses would return to the Netherworld and they would revive there.”

“I never imagined they would have an item as powerful as the Sunshade,” Ye Zhou said.
“This was a dangerous fight.
Every member of our team specializes in offense.
We’re missing healing, defense, and support.”

The other team had covered all the positions well, with the exception of healing.

“It’ll be better when we can join sects,” Aotian said.
“At the early stages, this was a pretty good outcome.
None of us had any techniques, just normal attacks.”

“Speaking of techniques, did you find a treasure trove?” Black Cat said to Dugu Zhuo.
“How come you have the Misdirection Array and also that strange technique back then?”

“Right!” Aotian said in sudden realization.
“The first time we met Dugu, he used this technique to eliminate a dozen monsters in one strike.
I was so scared I thought he was a boss.
You’re barely over level 10 just like us, so how come you’re so badass?”

After forcibly having used a dual sword form, Dugu Zhuo had not only expended his spiritual essence but wreaked havoc on his dantian.
His sword qi had run out of his control and was causing damage throughout his body, injuring his internal organs.

Ye Zhou knew about Dugu Zhuo’s identity as a mythic and the strange properties of his blood, so didn’t suspect him.
He noticed that Dugu Zhuo looked deathly pale and hurriedly opened his stats via the blood bond.
He was immediately shocked.
“How did your health get so low? You’re at 10%… no, 9… 8… it’s still going down? How come? You’ve already used the technique!”

Ye Zhou supported Dugu Zhuo’s body, grabbing healing medicine from his bag and stuffing seven or eight kinds into Dugu Zhuo’s mouth.
He gave him one each type of healing medicine he had collected, raising his health to 60%, but it quickly fell back to 10%.

“Isn’t the cost of your technique way too harsh?” Ye Zhou said anxiously.

Seeing his concern, Dugu Zhuo raised a hand and covered Ye Zhou’s eyes.
“It’s fine,” he said quietly.
“Merely an internal injury.”

“How do we treat it?” said Ye Zhou.
“You’re losing health again.”

Dugu Zhuo’s body seemed to have an HP drain, with all of Ye Zhou’s medicines having no effect.

At this moment, Ye Zhou suddenly heard a system notification.
“Ding! Dugu Zhuo has been critically injured and cannot be cured.
Eventually, he will lose all his health and die.
Would you like to use your blood bond’s Heart Linking Technique in order to heal Dugu Zhuo? Yes/No”

“What’s the Heart Linking Technique?” Ye Zhou asked.
“What’ll happen if he keeps losing health?”

“He will completely vanish from his game.” Ye Zhou hadn’t noticed that the system was no longer talking to him via dialogue boxes, but was speaking directly into his mind like a conversation.

“You’ll lock his account?” Ye Zhou said.
“You can’t! He has a mythic account.
Use the technique!”

Ye Zhou tapped the accept button, and instantly, he felt like all of his internal organs were being sliced by blades.

Damn, he’d forgotten that he had raised his pain sensitivity to 50% today.
It seriously hurt! A cold sweat broke out on his forehead.

Dugu Zhuo was now no longer losing health, his pallor gradually improving.

Why did it hurt so much? Ye Zhou didn’t want anyone to know that he had raised the pain sensitivity.
He put down Dugu Zhuo and said with his back to everyone, “It’s almost 12, so I have to log off.
I’m going to eat lunch, then I’ll be back at 3.”

With those words, Ye Zhou hit the log out button and vanished.

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