One of the cavalry men returned from the mountain forest in the remote distance; he was a scout assigned under Chen Fei. The scout halted his horse before Meng Yide, cupped his fists and said, "Cave Master, East Arrival Cave was indeed not guarded."
This person was a subordinate of Meng Yide's cave. Chen Fei must have fully known what was going on and ordered him to make the report instead. He knew that Meng Yide was still distrustful towards him. Otherwise, Meng Yide wouldn't have sent his own subordinate to follow him as he spied on the enemy's situation, so Chen Fei might as well let Meng Yide's own subordinate report the news.
Meng Yide nodded his head. Flipping his hand, a long axe appeared from the storage ring and onto his palm. He turned left and right before he calmly ordered, "Zhong Weiyi, Shi Baixiang and Yuan Zhengkun."
"Here!" The three immediately commanded their dragon steeds to step forth, cupping their fists to take orders.
"The three of you will each lead troops and follow me, separating into four paths in order to surround East Arrival Cave. Yuan Zhengkun's troops will act as the vanguard of the attack. Each unit must act according to plan!"
"Understood!" The three accepted the order.
BANG! With a wave of his hand, Meng Yide brandished his axe and cut down a large tree in front of everyone's eyes. He then shouted out his order, "March out!"
"Yes!" Everyone answered with a loud rumble.
As the attacking vanguard, Yuan Zhengkun promptly selected seven men from the people who were casted out from the former South Edict Manor. It wouldn't be appropriate for him to order around Meng Yide's own units. Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao had always been with him so naturally, they weren't left behind.
The seven people obeyed the order and went along with Yuan Zhengkun as the vanguard who would take the lead. They galloped their horses out, making a beeline for East Arrival Cave.
After Zhong Weiyi and Shi Baixiang were done selecting their men, they both proceeded to take the left and right roundabout route in order to outflank the enemy.
A subordinate released the spiritual eagle he'd carried with him to send out a message to the Mountain Chieftain Duan Jirui, informing him that they had already begun launching the attack on this side. This would make it easier for Duan Jirui to coordinate with their movements, since depending on the manpower here to stop Qin Weiwei was most likely not possible.
After witnessing the spiritual eagle soaring through the sky into the remote distance, only then did Meng Yide turn around, leading his men to maintain their position from behind...
Although East Arrival Cave had only been left with one cultivator to guard it and despite Yan Xiu's assumption that Miao Yi had most likely lost his life in the Sea of Constellations, Yan Xiu had carried out his duties with all his heart. Apart from guarding the mountain gates, he would also take the time to patrol the mountain once a day.
Even though Miao Yi was not around anymore, he still didn't dare to neglect Mountain Chieftain Qin Weiwei's orders.
Currently, he was riding his dragon steed, traversing across the dense mountain forest and checking out the vicinity. But he never would have expected to hear the sounds of stomping hooves rumbling towards him from the back of the mountain.
How could there be someone emerging from behind him?
Yan Xiu knitted his brows together. As a person who had surrendered repeatedly, this wasn't his first time encountering an ambush. It could be said that he was rather experienced so his vigilance was rather high. He had already vaguely realized that something had gone wrong. Without delay, he quickly grabbed the two axes on his back, urgently riding his dragon steed up the mountain, and then invoked his transcendence vision to survey the scene from his high position.
The sight of eight cavalries charging from the back of the mountain forest entered his view. They were charging directly towards the mountain.
Both parties were rapidly approaching and had already caught sight of each other.
Seeing that the person taking the lead was none other than the former Cave Master of Transient Light Cave, Yuan Zhengkun, as well as his old associates Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao, Yan Xiu initially thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. To say that he wasn't utterly astonished was an understatement.
Upon seeing his old subordinate, Yuan Zhengkun was also surprised. Immediately, he directed his long halberd at him and shouted, "Insolent Shi Xiang! Hurry up and dismount from your horse and accept surrender!"
He was not planning to kill Yan Xiu because he intended to nab him first to find out what was going on. Based on his impression, with so many men closing in with him, Shi Xiang would definitely not dare make a move, and he would definitely dismount from his horse to surrender obediently.
But people eventually changed. It had been a long time since Yan Xiu had heard himself addressed with the humiliating title 'Shi Xiang'. During that time, not only did Yuan Zhengkun leave them to be his scapegoats, he had also caused the death of his own wife, Luo Zhen—it could be said that the old resentment filling his heart instantly rushed to his head.
He knew very well that he was absolutely no match for Yuan Zhengkun. What's more, the other party had safety in numbers. The situation was badly against him, so he wasn't about to stick around. Instantly, he turned his head and ran.
There wasn't any need to fire off the alarm anymore, since he was the only remaining cultivator in East Arrival Cave. The others were handmaidens who didn't even have their own mounts. Even if the handmaidens heard the alarm, they still wouldn't be able to escape.
"Shi Xiang, stop running!" Yuan Zhengkun was furious. That coward had actually dared to escape. He brandished the long halberd in his hand. "Capture him!"
Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao immediately increased their speed, sprinting away from the troops as they urgently gave chase.
Having been discovered by the other party's mountain patroller, the other two units who were taking the roundabout route to outflank the enemy also sped up. The rumbling sounds of hooves stomping in the mountain forest was so shocking it caused the birds to scatter in all directions.
"Shi Xiang, cease this running!"
Behind him, Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao were hot in pursuit. As he charged back all the way to East Arrival Cave, Yan Xiu thought of his two half-disciples. If he were to run away, then Qian'Er and Xue'Er would be in danger. But he had no time to dismount from his steed to bring them both along.
He could only scream with grief, "Enemy attack! Hide yourselves! Quickly hide yourselves! Quickly hide yourselves..."
In the end, not only did his warning fail to make the handmaidens go into hiding, it had even compelled the obliviously green and inexperienced ones to rush out in succession, all of them peering about. They wanted to see what was going on and the consequence of this was soon obvious, as each of their beautiful complexions quickly turned pale...
Chen Fei and the others lying in wait in advance, witnessed the nearing Yan Xiu hurriedly making his escape.
Chen Fei frowned slightly and did not reveal himself.
Before this, he had called him a friend. He couldn't just strike him immediately after. After all, this man was Miao Yi's subordinate. But on the battlefield, one was always faced with the choice of either you die or I live. Sympathizing with the enemy wasn't allowed. On top of that, his current predicament made it inappropriate for him to just sit and watch, so he could only tilt his head and signal to the men at his side.
"Get down from your steed and die!"
Two of them leapt out on their steeds, couching their spears to block Yan Xiu's path.
There were enemies blocking his front and troops in pursuit at his back. Yan Xiu roared in fury before spreading his arms, hoisting his twin axes. In an abrupt movement, the dragon steed under him raised its hooves to the sky, intending to leap over the heads of the enemies intercepting them.
Similarly, the two men at the front blocking the path with their couched spears then commanded their mounts to soar into the sky, striking their spears down together from high up in the air.
The three dragon steeds seemed to be leaping hundreds of meters high up into the air at the same time. A glowing lotus flower suddenly emerged between the three men's brows; each having a cultivation at the White Lotus Third Grade.
"Those who are in my way shall die!"
Yan Xiu bellowed with rage, the twin axes striking out together at once. Up in the air, banging sounds reverberated as they forcefully collided against the assault of two long spears.
Hot on his tail behind him, Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao were exchanging stunned looks with each other. Since when had Shi Xiang become so bold and powerful? Had they caught sight of the wrong person?
The long spears were jolted back in mid-air. Simultaneously, Yan Xiu was left quaking until his body wavered—he had used his force to withstand the two White Lotus Third Grade cultivators, causing him to almost fall off from his dragon steed soaring through the air.
Both parties leaped out from opposite sides. After an exchange of attacks in the air, they immediately brushed past each other.
One of them displayed an uncommon spear technique. The moment the spear in his hand jolted away, he instantly seized the opportunity to swing the spear back. Up in the air, he returned the blow by thrusting the spear out, and it happened to strike Yan Xiu's left arm.
"Ngh…" Yan Xiu groaned. The broad axe he wielded with his left hand was instantly knocked away his grasp, and blood splashed out from the back of his arm up into the air.
Fortunately, both parties brushed past each other in mid-air, so the force of the other party's countered spear blow was incapable of being extended. Otherwise, this spear strike would most likely have cut off his arm.
Although it was said to be slow, it was in fact, fast. Both parties had exchanged their blows in mid-air and then instantly dropped to the ground.
After landing on the ground, Yan Xiu did not think of anything else and couldn't be bothered to pick up the discarded broad axe. Wielding just one axe with one hand, he risked his life by commanding his dragon steed to swiftly flee to safety.
The two mounted soldiers dropped to the ground, and immediately turned around to quickly give chase. Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao were also hot on their trail, unwilling to let him go...
After a while, the four people pursuing him swiftly returned once again. The accompanying Chen Fei shot out from the forest and asked, "Has that man been beheaded?"
Li Xin shook his head in response, "He put up a desperate fight and only knew how to run. He simply didn't want to cross swords with us. We were also reluctant to give chase too far and come across possible reinforcements, so we let him make a lucky escape."
They returned back to East Arrival Cave, only to see that Meng Yide had also arrived. Their forces were already gathered at the plaza of East Arrival Cave.
Everyone present had done nothing to exert themselves; they had effortlessly taken over East Arrival Cave. Even Meng Yide felt that there was no logical explanation for their victory. Where on earth had the men of East Arrival Cave gone?
Meng Yide even felt slightly worried that they had entered a trap. He hurriedly dispatched another group to search the surroundings, broadening their range to ferret anybody out.
Seeing that Li Xin and the rest had returned together with Meng Yide, Yuan Zhengkun immediately asked, "Did you manage to capture Shi Xiang?"
Li Xin shook his head. "Unfortunately, he escaped."
Instantly, Yuan Zhengkun glared. "Useless! You couldn't even capture that fool!"
Meng Yide tilted his head to look. He inquired, "What Shi Xiang?"
Yuan Zhengkun instantly withdrew his anger. He turned to smile, "That person used to be my subordinate at Transient Light Cave. I presume he must have surrendered to Yang Qing..."
He explained the origin of the 'Shi Xiang' title./form of address. After Meng Yide listened to it, he also felt it was beneath his dignity and scoffed coldly, "Let him run then. We originally prepared to let one person live. Fortunately, we didn't kill him. Or else, there wouldn't be anyone to inform Qin Weiwei."
"Understood! Cave Master Meng is wise." Yuan Zhengkun cupped his hands.
When faced against this form of boot-licking, Meng Yide was not inclined to enjoy it. He twisted his head to the side, staring straight at the gathered handmaidens, all eighteen of them trembling with fear on the plaza.
Initially, East Arrival Cave only had sixteen handmaidens. After Zheng Jinlong replaced Song Fu's place, two more were obtained from East Arrival City.
This group of handmaidens, who had yet to enjoy the good fortune of an Immortal, probably hadn't expected to meet with such horrible luck.
"Where did the men of East Arrival Cave go? Ask them," Meng Yide ordered.
One of his accompanying subordinates immediately leapt off his dragon steed. He walked up to them and slapped one of the handmaidens. "Where did the cultivators of East Arrival Cave gone off to?"
The end result was that each of them gave the same answer: they'd been gone for almost a year and were unaware of their destination.
Only fools would believe such words. How could a Cave Master overseeing East Arrival Cave bring along his subordinates, leave for almost a year and never return?
The man promptly pointed a blade towards the handmaidens. "If you still refuse to speak the truth, I will kill you all!"
Under fear of death, one by one the handmaidens all pointed to Qian'Er and Xue'Er, both of which also had their faces slapped until they were red and swollen. The handmaidens exclaimed that they really didn't know and those two were the Cave Master's handmaidens, so they might know where they'd gone off to.
Everyone's gazes immediately fixated on the more beautiful Qian'Er and Xue'Er. The two young girls were also scared witless. It was their first time facing such a situation, so they appeared to be more or less frightened.
On hearing that they were Miao Yi's handmaidens, Chen Fei's gaze slightly flickered. He swiftly transmitted a message to the two girls surreptitiously.
The two girls also turned to face him together.
After seeing the two girls' abnormal gaze, the onlookers also trailed after to face Chen Fei.
Chen Fei took the opportunity to step forth, stopping the advancing cultivator from continuing his interrogation of Qian'Er and Xue'Er. "Please show some mercy!"
He then turned and faced Meng Yide seated atop his dragon steed, cupping his hands, and explaining, "Cave Master, I was formerly a man of East Arrival Cave. These two used to be my handmaidens. Little did I know that they would eventually become the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave's handmaidens. You might as well let me ask them."
Meng Yide did not cast any suspicion of deceit. He slightly nodded and agreed.
During the time when Chen Fei was interrogating the two young girls, Li Xin, was instead asking Yuan Zhengkun somewhat puzzlingly, "Miao Yi? Could that be Horse Deputy Miao Yi from our Transient Light Cave?"