From a distant mountain forest, ten riders came and lightly treaded their way through the snow. They finally came to a halt on the mountain peak, and surveyed the dimly lit region from their elevated and far-off position.
Once night had fallen, the ten riders changed into white garbs.
After scouting about in the distance for a moment, they met up to converse in low voices. Then one after another, they began untying their hair, letting it hang loose in a dishevelled mess on their shoulders, and each fastened a mask on their face.
Matters which didn’t abide by the rules could be acted upon in the dark, but their identities must not be exposed—Miao Yi had already warned them repeatedly on this.
It was similar to before, when Xiong Xiao wanted to get rid of Miao Yi. He could only do so behind everyone’s back, and would have never dared to act in the open.
At the head, Lai Yuhan sat on his dragon steed and scanned his surroundings, then slowly raised his hand to signal.
Three riders, a White Lotus Eight Grade, seventh grade and sixth grade cultivator, immediately scattered. They wound their way through the surrounding mountain range to guard the four routes leading to Changfeng Cave, including an additional one for this side.
After making preparations, Lai Yuhan pointed out Changfeng Cave’s location on the mountainside.
The six riders behind him, five White Lotus Fifth Grade cultivators, and a White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator; let loose with their speed, and charged forth at a mad thundering gallop into Changfeng Cave—no longer concerned with being secretive.
On hearing the commotion, a cultivator standing guard at the Changfeng Cave mountain gates invoked his transcendent vision to look—only to see six masked men with dishevelled hair charging towards him on their dragon steeds.
Having seen such strange garbs, he obviously knew it was abnormal without even thinking about it, and his expression turned a ghastly pale.
‘AWOOOO…’ He immediately sounded the alarm.
After the alarm sounded, human figures rushed out of their individual cultivation residence in Changfeng Cave one by one, and quickly prepared their defensive countermeasures.
The gatekeeper didn’t bother discovering the cultivation bases of the invaders. It went without saying that he was heavily outnumbered, so he turned and ran.
Yet how could his pair of legs surpass the speed of dragon steeds? The masked man leading the charge swept the tip of his long spear into the ground, and flicked it upwards.
Formidable transcendence energy manifested and blasted out—the White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator was the first to act!
A line snaked across the snowy ground, and with a rumble—a large slab of earth and snow was thrust into the sky.
‘BANG!’ It immediately squashed the retreating gatekeeper into the ground, only his face was left exposed and coughing out blood.
The six riders rushed past without stopping to finish him off.
Judging by the strength displayed, the gatekeeper being pressed into the ground and spewing blood, instantly knew that the invaders were no virtuous crops. This was at least the strength of a White Lotus Fifth Grade, but from the force used by the other party—he was afraid that the cultivation was far beyond a White Lotus Fifth Grade.
The cultivator resigned himself to shutting his eyes, and pretending that he had been crushed to death on the ground.
By then, the Changfeng Cave Master had already organized his troops, and was charging to meet the enemy head on. While closing the distance, he started bellowing furiously, "WHO GOES THERE?! YOU DARE TO ASSAULT MY CHANGFENG CAVE?!"
Nobody answered him from the other party; they continued charging forward and finally clashed with the enemy force head on.
The masked man in the lead immediately engaged in a fierce battle with the Changfeng Cave Master; with the former striking out skillfully and easily, while the latter instead began feeling extremely fearful.
The Changfeng Cave Master only had a cultivation at White Lotus Fifth Grade—the moment they crossed each other in combat, he instantly knew that he was never the other party’s match, and cursed to himself.
However, he soon realized that the enemy didn’t have any intention of killing him. A spear strike sent the weapon in his hand flying, then the raised long spear immediately seized the chance to come crashing down straight onto the head of his mount, splattering its brain. The man didn’t continue pursuing him with the intent to kill, as he continued to dodge. Instead, the masked man took a jade archive in hand, and closely examined the forces under the Cave Master one by one.
Keeping in mind that among the six masked men who had come, apart from the White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator in the lead, the other five were all equal in strength with the Changfeng Cave Master. How could the men of Changfeng Cave ever hope to ward them off?
Amidst the thundering noise of flagstones flying about at random under the flurry of transcendence energy, snowflakes madly swirled about. The men of Changfeng Cave instantly suffered a crushing defeat.
However, it puzzled them that although the enemy had barged in with full force, and attacked them until they no longer had any energy left to defend themselves; they only killed the mounts, not the people.
Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao were also mixed with the chaotic battle. Both of them, as usual, stuck by Yuan Zhengkun’s side.
Even though Yuan Zhengkun also had the strength of a White Lotus Fifth Grade, he couldn’t handle so many men with similar strength working together. He grumbled silently in his heart, ‘Didn’t I just surrender not long ago? Why do I keep encountering this kind of situation? What is wrong with South Edict Manor? Why is it never peaceful?’
After blocking an incoming spear strike, the dragon steed beneath him let out a cry before collapsing onto the ground—it was killed in a flash by a cold glimmer. Yuan Zhengkun swiftly dodged out of the way, and leapt off.
Within a short time, all of the mounts belonging to the troops of Changfeng Cave had been killed. One by one, the men recoiled and huddled about the Changfeng Cave Master’s sides.
The six masked men already had already urged their steeds into a line, and raised their spears.
"Who the hell are you?! Why are you attacking my Changfeng Cave tonight?!" asked the Changfeng Cave Master in a fit of rage.
To his surprise, the head cultivator simply swept his gaze through the crowd with the jade archive in hand, then abruptly pointed at Yuan Zhengkun’s group, and delivered an ultimatum. "Those three! Hand them over to us, and I will let you all live. Otherwise, we will show no mercy, and slaughter everyone!"
The five riders by his side swiftly shot out, and charged straight towards the trio.
Shocked, Yuan Zhengkun’s group seemed to understand something in that instant.
‘Why were they the only ones being targeted?’ The trio didn’t need to think very much to figure out who they had an enmity with. They could roughly guess who these invaders were.
"RUN!" Crying out in terror, Yuan Zhengkun, Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao immediately turned tail, and ran.
Yet how could they ever outrun dragon steeds?
When the sound of the wind being sliced came from behind, the trio quickly raised their spears to block.
‘BANG! CLANG! BANG!’ Three sounds rang out with a trembling note. The weapons in the hands of Yuan Zhengkun’s group were either swept away, or jolted out of their grip.
Several loud ‘BANG!’ sounds followed immediately after—the trio were brutally knocked back by five charging dragon steeds in a sharp wedge formation, and were sent flying. The results were hardly surprising after being disadvantaged by the loss of their dragon steeds.
Even a cultivator at the Blue Lotus realm wouldn’t dare collide head on with a dragon steed, let alone the three of them.
The impact of the dragon steeds was alarming—the crisp fracturing of their bones was clearly audible in the night, as they coughed out blood.
The five riders quickly overtook them, and struck with their spears—piercing through the trio’s guts. Then, raising their spears into an overhead swing, again brought the trio crashing down to earth.
The trio collapsed where they lay on the ground, coughing up blood and screaming in terror. The five riders again swiftly turned back in their direction. Scared shitless, the trio covered their bleeding guts, and cried out in a panic, "SURRENDER! WE SURRENDER! AH..."
The five riders continued charging over; completely ignoring their pleas to surrender. The long spears in their hands jabbed out in quick successions, thoroughly crushing their ability to fight back.
Crippled, the three bodies continued to wail in anguish as they were picked up by three of the riders.
"AWOOOOOO…." the leading masked man with dishevelled hair unleashed a long howl as he faced the snowy night sky. It was a signal of success to the four men who were guarding their escape routes in the surrounding mountains—their failsafe, should they need to flee.
Soon after, he turned his dragon steed around, and swiftly departed with the five riders trailing after him.
Sure enough, they fulfilled their promise and didn’t attack any of the others.
As for the men of Changfeng Cave, none of them dared to actually strike after the threat from the masked leader, because the enemy forces really had the strength to completely slaughter them without resistance!
To top it all off, both manors knew of the grudge between Xiong Xiao and Miao Yi. After Yuan Zhengkun’s group was assigned to them as subordinates, the Changfeng Cave Master had already been worried that the insane Miao Yi would come to seek vengeance.
Obviously, since Miao Yi would even dare to fight head on with Xiong Xiao, he wouldn’t be afraid of a mere Changfeng Cave!
‘As expected…’ the Changfeng Cave Master ground his teeth and said, "This was definitely done by that insane Miao Yi. I heard that his East Arrival Cave recruited twenty experts, and he actually used them today on my Changfeng Cave! Fuck!"
Near him, someone immediately asked, "Cave Master, should we give chase?"
The Changfeng Cave Master turned around, and spat in his face. "Chase? What chase? We don’t even have mounts anymore! What are we going to pursue them with? Even if we catch up to them, do you seriously think they won’t dare wipe us out? We can’t afford to deal with this matter! Let the Mountain Chieftain handle it himself!"
The moment the ten riders met once more within the snowy forest in the dead of the night, Lai Yuhan lifted the hair of the three wailing captives to confirm their identities. After that, he motioned with his large hands, "MOVE!"
The ten riders immediately left with a thunderous clamour...
The next afternoon, the ten riders had crossed several fields and mountains paths throughout their journey, before finally arriving at East Arrival Cave.
Dismounting from his dragon steed, Lai Yuhan quickly hurried over to the shack that the Cave Master currently resided in, and bumped right into the Great Cave Master Miao, who heading out after hearing the commotion; he had been immersed in cultivation.
Leaving the doorway, Miao Yi narrowed his eyes at the foot of the mountain, and said with a smirk, "Have you completed the task?"
"With luck, we were able to complete the mission successfully. We have caught them."
Lai Yuhan cupped his fists, and reported the outcome. While he was explaining, he led Miao Yi down to the base of the mountain.
"Did it go without any problems?"
"It went well."
"You lot didn’t kill anyone else from Changfeng Cave, right?"
"No. We went according to the Cave Master’s orders. We have only injured them and killed no one."
"Great job! Except that we’ve let that scum Xiong Xiao off easily. I’ll wait for him to pick a fight with me!" Miao Yi mouth twisted as he laughed coldly.
The sensation of having your men carrying out orders without the need to personally risk oneself was amazing.
His first instincts had been to kill every single man under Xiong Xiao, and let him have a taste of being a lone Mountain Chieftain.
However, that wasn’t very realistic. Even completely wiping out all of Xiong Xiao’s forces in one cave, was already not a small matter to begin with. South Edict would undoubtedly topple the heavens to investigate the matter thoroughly. If he were caught, Yang Qing would never let Miao Yi off.
Yet since Xiong Xiao had acted the same, then Miao Yi could pull the exact same trick. ‘Weren’t you, Xiong Xiao, able to send over your masked subordinates to kill me. Refusing to admit it, even if you were to be beaten to death and caught red-handed?’
‘This time, I’ve sent masked men of my own to wreck havoc in your territory. Not killing anyone else, and simply capturing Yuan Zhengkun’s group was to let you, Xiong Xiao, know that I am the main perpetrator. When the time comes, I will never admit to it too. What can you do to me without any evidence? Are you going to forcefully pin it on me?’
Recalling the events from before when Yang Qing sent Qing Mei over to pass on a message saying that—if there came a day where he, Miao Yi, was able to replace Xiong Xiao’s position in South Edict Manor, Yang Qing would let him take over Xiong Xiao’s Mountain.
Miao Yi regretted that his own cultivation base was still too low, and that he didn’t have many forces in hand. His foundation was still too weak; it wasn’t enough for him to oversee Xiong Xiao’s territory.
Looking at it more objectively, it was impossible for a White Lotus Third Grade cultivator to be a Mountain Chieftain, being a Cave Master was already considered a difficult proposition.
Were it not for this fact, Miao Yi would definitely have led his troops to openly seize Xiong Xiao’s territory without hesitation, and directly eliminate that beast.
While he really wished to kill Xiong Xiao, it was difficult for him to brazenly trigger a dispute within South Edict Manor.
Provoking a dispute was certainly possible for him, but the most crucial point was, he had to end it. For example, after killing Xiong Xiao, he needed to instantly seize control of Xiong Xiao’s territory.
He couldn’t just kill Xiong Xiao, and leave behind a chaotic mess. The Manor Head would have to clean up after him, and appoint another capable person to tidy up Xiong Xiao’s territory, or the like.
That wasn’t realistic. If Yang Qing seriously did that, besides outsiders suspecting that it was done under his orders; the hearts of the men would waver, and the rules would be a complete mess.
In the future, what if anyone with a grudge continued to do such a thing? After having done it, have Yang Qing clean up the mess again? Otherwise, why was Miao Yi alone allowed to do such things, and others were forbidden to do it?
Would Yang Qing be able to clean up every mess that was made? Truly, this was why the rules were necessary!
Thus, Miao Yi intentionally gave the game away, and let Xiong Xiao know that he was the perpetrator—hoping that it was enough to provoke Xiong Xiao into starting a fight.
If Xiong Xiao was the one to single him out first, nobody would say anything about him even if he killed Xiong Xiao. Everyone would abide by the rules!