As his claw came down, Long Wang closed her eyes and awaited her death. Suddenly, Ming Yue jumped in with her sword in both hands. Empowered by her Quintessence Energy, she smashed the blade into the palm of the dragon and she carried Long Wang away. With her speed, she nearly disappeared in front of everyone's eyes and reappeared at the back of the ship where she dropped the woman off.
"You again, first the woman in charge of the barriers and now, you protect her. Do you wish to die first then?"
Xiu Luo Yang eyed Ming Yue's position, locking onto her. She felt his sharp gaze pierce her body but she looked back at the dragon, not showing any fear. Even as her mind trembled, her voice did not, she spoke with clarity and volume.
"These people do not deserve to die, none of them do. They did not come here to plunder from these graves but to learn and understand more about the lives of dragons. They come for knowledge not glory."
"Then these weapons of theirs, are they not used to kill my kin? That poisonous gas and the heavily armored ship, what is there to fear in a place of the dead?"
The Dragon of the Sun questioned her claims but it was the others who answered that question.
"All of this is for our protection against the descendant races. Not to mention, the restless spirits of those that have lost their lives here."
"Those things were monstrous, neither man nor beast. You cannot expect us to pass here without some protective measures."
"We aren't fighters. Our experience in combat is nearly non-existent."
"We could not take bits of your beloved's scale as it was too strong so our only choice was to extract one. As for the scar, one of us were a bit too excited over finding a dragon as unique as her."
"Indeed, we've made countless of expeditions all for exploring and studying the gravesite that lies at the center of the Ying Long Sea. All we've done is take samples of their scales and claws, collect some of their residual energy but no more."
"We are not like those who would butcher corpses."
Their words came like a continuous stream, pushing back at Xiu Luo Yang's. Clearly the dragon did not expect such replies from everyone.
"Hm, I suppose you are correct, not many can injure her so I shouldn't expect much. You're lucky that I am able to control my anger. If not, I would've turned everything here into ash and used you all as tributes to her death. Though I suppose, she would not like such a thing."
Xiu Luo Yang rose his head as he gazed at the ship. Although he surrounded the ship with his own body, it looked less like he was trapping them and more like he was resting here.
At the same time the others nearly spit blood at his words. For them to be lucky that this great beast could restrain his anger was a laughable idea. If they did not make all of these preparations, they would've been dead long ago. Not to mention, the only things he had said to them before were threats to their lives and claims to give them horrible deaths. The ship was already in shambles. If he did not kill them now, they would surely die on the return trip.
This time, Long Wang recovered and together with her brother, they walked forward and looked at the dragon, staring straight into his eyes. Courage gathered within her as she realized that he was beginning to hesitate in his words.
"No one here meant for the scar to happen and we certainly did not come here with ill intentions. I assume for someone of your stature, you can oversee this, no?"
The dragon thought on her words before coming to a conclusion.
"I suppose that you are correct. However, while scales could grow back, a scar will never fade. I could let you all free but one of you must stay behind to die. It would be best if the one who caused the scar was left behind but anyone would do. I will accept whoever you choose. Now, go on and discuss."
With his rather carefree tone, he spoke some very serious words.
For everyone's life, they had to give one up to the dragon. If they were to give someone up, it was obviously Tian Zhui that they would choose. However, the thought of condemning one person for the sake of themselves was polarizing. Although his character was slightly insufferable, in their eyes, he did not deserve death. But if they did not choose someone, their only choice was to accept death.
Tian Zhui saw their hesitation, not knowing that they were thinking of choosing him. In this moment, he believed that it was his time to take charge and show his worth. He believed that he had chosen the perfect candidate and thought that everyone else would share the same thoughts.
"I believe that we should elect the old woman, she is the oldest."
Not mincing his words, he had chosen Senior Bei. For such a scholarly man to utter such speech was surprising. Worse than that, he did so without much hesitation. Even as everyone thought carefully, he was quick to choose. Perhaps his quick judgement was a good thing but morals, that was something everyone else valued more.
"How could you say that?"
"She is the oldest and most experienced of us all. She has contributed more than you have."
"Why would you choose her?"
"You have given her no respect when she has given you more than you deserve."
"She was the one who allowed you to join the department and you call for her death?!"
Everyone had nothing but harsh words for his choice but Tian Zhui did not back down rather he offered another choice.
"What had she done for this expedition? She could barely use any of her tools with that fragile body of hers. If we have to choose someone, we should give up the weakest link. If not her, then that girl. She has nothing to do with us. She only came to sightsee."
Tian Zhui then pointed at Ming Yue, who looked back at him with anger. He may be a hard worker, but his mentality was lacking. It was one thing to be arrogant and ambitious, it was another to show little concern for life.
"What are you saying? Sightseeing? Did she not help us in defending the ship? Capturing that Electric Dragon Eel?"
Long Wang looked at him with disgust as did the others. So easily, he was willing to sacrifice someone for a chance at life.
"You speak with such gusto as if you had nothing to do with it. If not for you, we would not be in such a mess."
"You had to take not one but multiple vials of blood. You just cut into the flesh and treated it like some insignificant beast."
"You left that scar on her body! You did not care about the corpse, you only cared about your own research!"
"It has always been like that with you. Quick to judge others and put down their hard work while you compliment your own."
"When you first started here, you did nothing but suck up to the previous heads of the department. No one can deny that you worked the hardest, gathering your own materials and such. But your behavior, no one can deny that you are intolerable to work with"
Tian Zhui looked at them all with a look of offense.
"Intolerable you say? Perhaps, I wouldn't have been so intolerable if the work you people do was good. All of you going after me? Hmph, Its only because I threaten your positions. You are afraid that I will over take you. and become the next head."
They looked at him with shock at those words.
"Threatened? No, none of us feel threatened by you. We feel nothing but disdain for you."
Any conversation had become nothing more than bickering. It seemed that they had all but forgotten their situation as everyone unloaded their frustrations for Tian Zhui.
"Enough, I will choose who will die."
Xiu Luo Yang stopped the bickering and immediately approached the broken ship, reaching out for someone. But who?
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