"Insolent!" Gongsun Yu turned back to shout. Then, he turned back to Miao Yi and with a bitter smile, said, "Brother Miao. I really can’t fork out two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will."
"Eyy! We can slowly discuss this matter between us," said Miao Yi, lifting his hand to stop him. He continued meeting the contemptuous gazes of the Sword Deviate Sect disciples and said, "What happens if I don’t apologize?"
Tao Ruping scoffed, "Then don’t blame us for being discourteous."
"Stand down!" Gongsun Yu bellowed once more.
"Cave Master Gongsun. It’s alright. I won’t lower myself to their standards," said Miao Yi, standing up to indicate the men behind Gongsun Yu. Not only was he provoking the Sword Deviate Sect, he was also insulting the Jade Lady Sect and the School of Imperial Beasts. "I am not looking down on your Sword Deviate Sect, Jade Lady Sect and School of Imperial Beasts—but with just you lot, you aren’t even fit to hold my shoes for me."
His words were too arrogant. Someone immediately shouted, "What did you say?!"
"Don’t say I didn’t give you all any chances," said Miao Yi as he pointed to the two men behind himself. "From the two of them, one has a Blue Lotus First Grade cultivation and the other, a White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivation. Why don’t we spar a little? The lot of you can join forces and strike together. Just pick any one of them. I will allow you all to fight the few with the many. If you win, I will make no mention of the matter of borrowing Orbs of Will anymore. If you lose, then I won’t be borrowing those two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will anymore. Instead, you will have to obediently hand them over. Do you dare take this wager?"
It wasn’t that Miao Yi was confident he would win, but he already discussed with Luo Shuangfei and Yuan Fang last night. He told them that he would try to stir up some trouble today, and would use only one of them to incite the wrath of the many. This way he would be able to set the ball rolling. If they couldn’t win, it would be fine. The remaining two would then strike together and beat the entire Long Viridescent Cave into a pulp before deciding their next move.
The disciples of the three major sects were no pushovers. Each sect naturally had their own unique traits for them to become what they were today. It wasn’t completely without reason that they dared to provoke two Blue Lotus First Grade Cultivators like Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan back at Mount Calming Sea. When they joined forces, a normal Blue Lotus First Grade cultivator truly might not be their match.
Seeing how arrogant Miao Yi was now—not only looking down on them, but insulting their three major sects as well—they were all seething with rage.
However, they did not have the authority to decide on wagering two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will for their bet. They still needed Gongsun Yu’s approval after all. Tao Ruping tried urging him, "Cave Master. This bastard is too overbearing. We cannot endure this any longer, and neither do we have to!"
Gongsun Yu slowly raised his hand and motioned for Tao Ruping not to be hasty. He stood up and chuckled to Miao Yi, "Brother Miao. Don’t you think it’s a little inappropriate to conduct matters like this? If word gets out, others might even think that my Long Viridescent Cave is bullying the few with the many."
His tone was already more relaxed than before. For a spar with such great odds, even he couldn’t help being tempted.
He was afraid that Miao Yi would rally his East Arrival Cave’s forces and fight as a group. The strength of the entire Long Viridescent Cave combined far paled in comparison to that of East Arrival Cave. In truth, out of all the Caves under Mount Calming Sea, the strength of East Arrival Cave was undoubtedly the first.
However, if they battled it out this way, things might not turn out that way. Gongsun Yu had seen the might of his subordinates when they worked together. The three major sects lived true to their name. A Blue Lotus First Grade cultivator might not truly be their match. He would be able to clamp down on Miao Yi’s arrogance and do away with his unreasonable request at the same time. How could he not be tempted?
"Bullying the few with the many?" Miao Yi jeered. "Cave Master Gongsun. My East Arrival Cave has never been afraid of these situations where the few are bullied by the many. With just over a dozen men, we were able to kill most of Xiong Xiao’s men and sent him running with his tail between his legs. Why would we be afraid of this bunch then? I am not looking down on your subordinates, but with their strength—is it truly apt to call this ‘bullying the few with the many’?"
‘Truly unbearable!’ The whole crowd was furious. "Cave Master. Why do you still hesitate? Is our Long Viridescent Cave just going to sit here and suffer such humiliation?"
Gongsun Yu raised his hand and put on an act, "What do you know? It’s not that I am afraid, I just don’t wish to bring harm to the harmony between our two camps." He turned to Miao Yi and continued, "Brother Miao. You best think this matter over. Accidents are a common occurrence during spars. You must not act impulsively."
Miao Yi was thinking, ‘If accidents don’t happen during spars, then why am I sparring in the first place?’ Then asked in response, "Don’t tell me Cave Master Gongsun is afraid to take the wager?"
Gongsun Yu turned his head back to look at his handmaidens behind him. His ego as a man rose and he snapped his head back to chuckle, "Since Brother Miao put it that way, I have nothing more to say. Why would I be afraid to make this wager? May I know where does Brother Miao intend the spar to be?"
"Let’s not make it troublesome. We will just spar here." Miao Yi casually pointed to a piece of flat ground nearby, then turned back to say, "Yuan Fang. Go show them what you can do."
It was obviously better to take the safer route for this kind of situation. He obviously had to choose the one with the highest cultivation to step forth.
Yuan Fang was just taking a step forward and brought out his long spear when Tao Ruping shouted, "Hold it!"
Miao Yi asked, "Trying to go back on your word?"
"We are not trying to go back on our word. Earlier, I remember you mentioning, Steed Deputy, that we are allowed to pick any one out of the two of them. If you are true to your word, then we will pick him!" said Tao Ruping, pointing at the listless Luo Shuangfei standing to the side.
Miao Yi wanted to take the safer route, but the other party weren’t idiots either. Seeing Miao Yi acting so confident, Tao Ruping didn’t want to take any risks. He knew that Yuan Fang’s cultivation was at Blue Lotus First Grade. The pressure on him would be quite significant if they fought. After all, a Blue Lotus cultivation was a completely different realm compared to that of White Lotus. Therefore, he obviously chose the one with a lower cultivation.
Luo Shuangfei was surprised, and looked a little puzzled as he pointed to himself, "You are choosing me? Why choose me?"
"Why?" mocked Tao Ruping. He added, "Don’t tell me you are afraid of facing us in battle? Or is a certain someone trying to go back on his word? If he is, then he better keep that dirty mouth of his shut."
Miao Yi didn’t appear to be paying any heed to his words. Regardless of whether he won or lost, and whom among them had to step up, once he saw any signs of losing—the remaining two, him included—would immediately join forces and strike together.
All the rules they discussed beforehand was just a lie. Strength was the only law here. It didn’t matter if he broke the rules or not. In the worst-case scenario, he would just forgo the two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will.
Luo Shuangfei was a little speechless. He was not someone who was afraid to take risks. He reached out at thin air, and the long, serrated spear inside his storage ring appeared in his grasp in a flash. He raised the spear and turned to walk to the flatlands nearby. Then, he stood in position and readied his spear.
Tao Ruping looked about him and said, "Everyone. That is someone who doesn’t hold any respect for us. Thus, there’s no need for us to hold back either. Let us strike together!"
The three Jade Lady Sect disciples all pulled out a nine-jointed steel whip capable of both long and short-range attacks; the two School of Imperial Beasts disciples held long scimitars; whilst the three Sword Deviate Sect disciples did not take out any weapons—the swords strapped upside-down to their backs were their weapons.
The eight of them walked onto the flatlands. Tao Ruping began by commanding, "Wu Liu. Ye Piaopiao. The three of us will take the vanguard. The rest of you will act as our support!"
Wu Liu was from the School of Imperial Beasts, and Ye Piaopiao was from the Jade Lady Sect. Both had White Lotus Seventh Grade cultivation.
Tao Ruping had good reason to select the two of them to take the vanguard with him. The rest had very low cultivations that did not even surpass White Lotus Fifth Grade, which made it difficult for them to directly face off a White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator. Only the three of them could endure such a force head-on.
Everyone nodded. Tao Ruping, Wu Liu and Ye Piaopiao immediately surrounded Luo Shuangfei from three separate points, keeping him in the center. Then, the other five created another layer of encirclement around theirs.
Luo Shuangfei’s forehead shone with a Ninth Grade White Lotus mark as he held his spear at an angle. The others also had white lotuses glowing from their foreheads as they began circulating their transcendence energy. The dried grass on the ground began moving despite there not being any wind and was ripped to shreds by the transcendence energy to flutter about.
Tao Ruping raised both his arms. Several scraping sounds could be heard as the four swords strapped to his back abruptly shot out. Two hovered over his shoulders and two next to his forearms. Then, four cold glints shot towards Luo Shuangfei.
The Sword Deviate Sect was famous for its unique Sword Control Technique. The higher the cultivation, the more flying swords one was able to control.
As soon as he made a move, the rest instantly followed suit and struck together.
Luo Shuangfei’s eyes flashed with a serious glint. He quickly spun his body around, the white glow on his spear artifact covered by the sun’s rays. All that could be seen were a bunch of silver flowers as it struck out. In that single moment, one could have mistaken it as thousands of silver flowers instantly blooming to envelope his body and protect it.
Clanking sounds could be heard as the ten flying swords flying towards him were knocked away. The three whips lashing through air to descend upon him were similarly knocked away. As it was difficult to launch long-range attacks with a scimitar, only Wu Liu, who went the closest, had struck down viciously but his attack was parried as well. There was still quite a gap between his and Luo Shuangfei’s cultivation after all. What’s more, Luo Shuangfei was using a first grade transcendent artifact. The scimitar in Wu Liu's hand was almost sent flying from the impact.
It was almost instantaneous. Everyone’s simultaneous attack was countered by Luo Shuangfei in the blink of an eye.
Miao Yi silently nodded at the sight. ‘This fellow’s spear art is indeed rather impressive.’
On the other hand, Yuan Fang was completely astounded. He never thought that a Loose Cultivator could actually have such an astonishing spear art. He had to admit that he himself would not be able to match that.
Gongsun Yu took a deep breath. He had seen Miao Yi break out of an encirclement of two hundred men before, so he naturally knew that Miao Yi’s spear art was impressive. However, he never thought that Miao Yi’s subordinate would be this powerful as well, and could handle a group of enemies with similar ease.
Being in the battle himself, Tao Ruping was stunned. Luo Shuangfei countered their joint attack in a single stroke. He immediately took advantage of the opening, narrowing his eyes on his target, then raised his spear and struck out.
Tao Ruping hastily called back the two flying swords that were first knocked away and tried to block the strike. However, Luo Shuangfei’s spearhead was like a dragonfly gently dipping on water—he swept it across and knocked the flying swords away once more. The force behind his spear did not lessen in the least as it continued its original course.
Tao Ruping grabbed the two other flying swords anxiously, and cut towards the approaching serrated spearhead in panic.
However, the spearhead mysteriously blurred, then came up under the two swords that were slicing at it before flashing back like a venomous snake. Tao Ruping had yet to even understand what had happened. All he could feel was a sudden pain at his neck.
Luo Shuangfei didn’t even bother looking as he quickly retracted his spear, and unleashed another flurry of piercing strikes. Several clanging sounds rang out as he knocked back the chaotic strikes around him once more.
Only now did everyone notice a spurt of blood gushing out of Tao Ruping’s neck. His footsteps staggered as his eyes widened in disbelief. His two swords fell to the ground as his hands tightly clutched onto his bleeding neck.
After countering all their attacks, Luo Shuangfei flipped his hand around and struck out again. A cold glint sank right into Tao Ruping’s head. Clods of reddish-white brain paste instantly burst out. Then, Luo Shuangfei swiftly retracted his spear and struck at the others once more.
Seeing Tao Ruping lose his life on the spot and fall to the ground, Gongsun Yu pointed towards him in shock. ‘Didn’t we say that it was a spar? Why did you kill someone?’
However, before he could say the words, he immediately recalled that he himself mentioned that there would always be accidents during spars.
Luo Shuangfei’s viciously cunning and bafflingly unpredictable spear art was filled with an evil aura. With the strongest Tao Ruping out of the way, the cold glint of his spear was like a vile snake in hiding—always ready to ambush the enemy. He immediately threw the rest into a panicked scramble. No one dared to let him approach and everyone anxiously tried to defend themselves. The pressure from their joint attacks was instantly broken and lost.