Yet even so, no one surrendered.
The School of Blue Jade disciples knew that they would not have any chance of survival if they fell into the hands of the three major sects. Since they would die either way, they may as well fight to their last breath.
Yan Xiu had enough of submitting to the enemy. Ever since he straightened his back, he never thought about bending down again.
This was an unsettling sight for their assailants. Once again, they realized how these men before them had been able to keep butchering through, until even Xiong Xiao was forced to retreat in shame and even casting aside his personal handmaidens back then.
Everyone ceased their attacks and surrounded these four men, giving them a chance to surrender.
"I am the East Arrival Cave Master! Follow me and kill!" The blood-soaked Yan Xiu bellowed furiously at the sky, as though wanting to prove a point before his last moments. He grit his teeth and flailed about with the pair of chained axes as he charged towards the enemy.
Protecting each other back to back, Lai Yuhan and the rest quickly turned their dragon steeds around and charged behind Yan Xiu...
The earth suddenly gave a huge shudder. Tu Sanliang and the rest were just about to launch their attack when the ground mysteriously cracked open. A large chasm abruptly split open the earth and almost threw them off their steeds. Everyone’s steeds momentarily lost their balance, and they hastily tried to stabilize them.
However with this, Yan Xiu and the rest were presented with a chance to escape. Their four steeds immediately leapt up and out of the encirclement.
After steadying his mount, Tu Sanliang bellowed, "Don’t let a single one of them escape!"
He was the first to jump with his dragon steed and chased after the four. Dozens of steeds followed suit. The flying swords of the Sword Deviate Sect swiftly shot out like a violent hurricane.
While in mid-air, the window of attack they left was greatly widened for an instant. The four who jumped up on their dragon steeds hastily twisted their bodies around and flailed with their weapons to block the oncoming attacks.
Clanging sounds rang out as the four desperately tried to defend themselves. However, they couldn’t help defend the dragon steeds beneath them against the flying swords attacking from under their bellies.
Spurting sounds could be heard as blood gushed out of the bellies of the four steeds.
The four immediately stepped on the backs of their dragon steeds that were still neighing in agony, and jumped up to the branches of a giant tree to escape.
After jumping onto a large tree, Yan Xiu suddenly saw a black hand reaching towards him. A strong transcendence energy suppressed him and stopped him from moving. The silhouette covered completely in black garbs grabbed Yan Xiu and quickly hid away in the canopy ahead.
How could Lai Yuhan and the rest escape without the help of a dragon steed’s speed? The swords raining down from the sky immediately knocked the three of them down.
As soon as two fell to the ground, they were instantly pinned down by several flying swords and died.
One of Lai Yuhan’s thighs was pierced through by a flying sword. With a similar gaping wound from another flying sword in his belly, Lai Yuhan hopped about on one leg. His hair was a mess and his body covered in blood. He desperately twirled his long spear about to block the storm of swords shooting towards him.
‘WHOOSH!’ A nine-jointed whip snapped through the air and tangled the long spear in Lai Yuhan’s hands.
Lan Ye had personally launched a strike from atop her dragon steed. She pulled on her nine-jointed whip and firmly kept Lai Yuhan’s spearhead at bay.
With the situation as it was, what happened next was easy to imagine. Over a dozen flying swords shot out. Spurting sounds could be heard as Lai Yuhan’s body trembled from the onslaught, blood gushing all over his body. With the spear in his hand already pulled away, he resembled nothing more than a hedgehog from all the flying swords stabbed into him,
‘Swoosh!’ Over a dozen flying swords flew out from his body and returned to their masters’ hands.
With his cheeks swollen, Lai Yuhan’s eyes widened as he held back from spitting out a mouthful of blood. He staggered about and forcefully kept himself up.
No one was concerned with him anymore. Tu Sanliang looked about and bellowed, "Where did the last one go? He won’t be able to run far without a dragon steed. Go and hunt him down. The Mountain Chieftain has ordered that we can’t let any one of them escape!"
The dragon steeds immediately galloped in different directions to search. One of them charged over and crashed directly into Lai Yuhan’s chest.
"PU…" Lai Yuhan hacked out blood as he flew out, his bones gave out sharp, crunching noises. He flew over ten meters away and crashed into a giant tree, making it shake and drop its leaves. He slid down the bark to the ground and sat beneath the tree with his legs forked. His eyes were wide as his head slumped to the side. Then, he was completely still.
No one felt pitiful about his death. Only a few leaves floated onto his body before being drenched by his fresh blood. From the corner of his mouth, blood was still dripping…
Not long after, Xiong Xiao rushed over with his forces and met up with Tu Sanliang, whose men were still searching about on his orders. Xiong Xiao’s first words were, "Did you see the little scum Miao Yi?"
Tu Sanliang cupped his fists and replied, "Most of those that tried to break through our assault were killed by us, but we did not see the little scum. Also, there was a sudden tremor just now that was very strange; it allowed that East Arrival Cave Master Yan Xiu to escape. However, he already lost his mount and I believe he won’t be able to run far. We are searching for him as we speak."
From Xiong Xiao’s expression, he was clearly quite incensed. It seemed that the situation was just like those girls described—the little scum had really gone to Mount Calming Sea.
He really wished to launch an assault on Mount Calming Sea and kill Miao Yi along with Qin Weiwei. However, he had already made his move. By the time his forces reached Mount Calming Sea, not only would the enemy have likely long since made their preparations, these subordinates of his wouldn’t have the audacity to attack Mount Calming Sea either. Qin Weiwei was Manor Head Yang Qing’s daughter after all.
"ARGHHH!!" Xiong Xiao roared out all his indignation at the sky.
Within the distant mountain range, a black shadow pulled Yan Xiu along and flew across the sky. As soon as he descended, he pushed the blood-soaked Yan Xiu away.
The black shadow pulled off the black garbs on his body and revealed his true face—it was none other than Yao Ruoxian.
Hidden in the mountain range, Qian’Er and Xue’Er quickly ran out to support Yan Xiu. "Teacher Yan. Are you alright?"
Yan Xiu swept a despondent gaze across the three. He didn’t have the mood to think about anything else either when he saw Yao Ruoxian, and just stared at the two girls as he shook his head. His tears streaked across his haggard face as he mumbled, "Yan Xiu is useless. Not even ten thousand deaths will be able to redeem my mistakes. I have failed the great responsibility entrusted to me by Milord!"
He was quite an unlucky one. Miao Yi was absent twice, and these two times he caused East Arrival Cave to go through a bloodbath. He was a complete harbinger of bad luck. Even he himself was completely ashamed to face anyone else when he thought about it.
Qian’Er anxiously asked, "Teacher Yan. Where are the rest?"
Yao Ruoxian looked at Yan Xiu and answered in his stead as he shook his head, "From the sounds of it, they have all met their ends."
Distressed, Xue’Er asked, "Teacher. Since you saved Teacher Yan, why didn’t you save the others as well? You could have saved them with your cultivation."
Yao Ruoxian’s eyes bulged at her as he berated her, "Kiddo. Don’t say something so cruel. If it weren’t for you two crying and screaming that you were indebted to him as a teacher and forcing me to rescue him, I wouldn’t even have concerned myself with him. Don’t you know how dangerous the situation was back there? I was almost revealed. If that happened, once word got out, Suppressing Second Hall and Moon Traversing Palace would immediately send their experts over to hunt me down. Wouldn’t I have to run for my life when that happens? All you two care about is them. Why don’t you spare some consideration for me? I’m not even that close to them. Why can’t you two just consider my difficulties sometimes?"
He turned back to regard Yan Xiu. Recalling that final scene, the tragic valor of Yan Xiu and the rest had surprised him as well. He couldn’t help sighing, "Not surrendering even in the face of death. You are all good men. It is indeed a waste that so many of you have perished. However, the cultivation realm is not a place for good men. Those kinds of men normally die premature deaths here."
He had described the dog-eat-dog world that is the entire cultivation realm with a single line. After living for such a long time, he had seen many things after all...
The search perimeter of Tu Sanliang and the others continued to expand, forcing Yao Ruoxian to have no choice but to bring the other three further off to hide away again.
They still couldn’t find Yan Xiu after a long search. Eventually, they had no choice but to give up looking for him. It wasn’t worth it to continue straining themselves for just Yan Xiu. After they met up with Xiong Xiao, they all rushed back to East Arrival Cave.
Catching sight of dozens of women lying in a pool of blood, among Xiong Xiao's forces, Chen Fei sighed inwardly. Xiong Xiao’s movements this time were too swift, and he completely did not let anyone else know of his intention to attack. Only when they pressed in on East Arrival Cave did he give the order to attack. Chen Fei couldn’t find a chance to warn East Arrival Cave at all.
There were disciples from the School of Blue Jade amongst the men as well. They all wore solemn expressions. They hadn’t received any prior word from their school, so they could only each serve their own masters. Otherwise, it would be difficult for them to maintain their foothold in the future.
Once she tallied their numbers, Lan Ye discovered that they lost almost thirty men as well. She shook her head, and said, "This East Arrival Cave had frightening combat strength indeed. Even with such a heavy encirclement, they were still able to kill so many of our troops."
"Mountain Chieftain. The little scum Miao Yi is not here. What should we do next?" asked Tu Sanliang from the side. "Should we return?"
Xiong Xiao gazed about coldly and ordered in a penetrating voice, "I will not give up so easily until I kill that little scum today."—he swept his finger out—"I want all of you to hide in the nearby areas. I don’t believe that that little scum Miao Yi won’t ever return. If you see him returning, show no mercy and kill him immediately! I will present five hundred low-grade Orbs of Will and bestow a Cave Master position of three Caves to whoever kills Miao Yi!"
With the announcement of such a rich reward, everyone’s eyes lit up—especially Tu Sanliang, Lan Ye and Ma Hu’s. They were the strongest and thus possessed the greatest chance of eliminating Miao Yi. It was a reward of five hundred low-grade Orbs of Will and a Cave Master position of three Caves after all!
After Xiong Xiao issued the command, everyone acknowledged the order and divided themselves into several groups. They hid around the surrounding areas of East Arrival Cave and waited for Miao Yi to return.
Meanwhile, Xiong Xiao found an excuse and led his two personal handmaidens Xia Yu and Qiu He to gallop off. The forces of the two Mountains didn’t suspect a thing. No one would have thought that Xiong Xiao was leaving them behind and running away.
As soon as they left the domain of East Arrival Cave, Xiong Xiao immediately brought his two handmaidens in a hasty charge towards the domain of Ten-Thousand Thriving Manor, leaving all his troops behind. He was officially betraying Suppressing Second Hall now.
He couldn’t really wait until Miao Yi returned. Who knew when that would be? What if he couldn’t wait long enough for Miao Yi to return and reinforcements came for East Arrival Cave instead? If that were to happen, the other parties would be subduing him with orders from higher up. Even his own subordinates would likely turn against him.
Xiong Xiao had gone against Yang Qing’s will to do such a thing. Seeing that he had failed his one chance, he immediately chose to escape. As for the forces of the two Mountains, since he couldn’t bring them along anyway, he might as well leave them behind and use them as a contingency. They would continue to follow his orders to stay behind and eliminate Miao Yi. If Miao Yi really wished to court death and come charging over, Xiong Xiao might even manage to get lucky and kill off that little scum.
Under the light of the moon, a master and his two subordinates bolted along a road, having already entered the domain of Ten-Thousand Thriving Manor.
One had no choice but to admit that Xiong Xiao was truly deserving of once being a highly regarded trusted aide of Yang Qing. His wit was quite impressive indeed. This contingency of his was truly brilliant.
As expected, late into the night and unaware of what had transpired in East Arrival Cave—Miao Yi, Luo Shuangfei and Yuan Fang returned.
They galloped straight into East Arrival Cave. Upon seeing that there was no gatekeeper at the mountain gates, Miao Yi’s brows were already furrowed.
Smelling the faint stench of blood in the air, the three bolted towards the plaza. They were shocked to see a large pool of blood on the ground. Sweeping their gazes around, they found several dozen female corpses floating on the lotus pond nearby.
The three quickly scanned around coldly. Even the listless Luo Shuangfei knew that something had happened and gathered all his wits.
"Yan Xiu! Where are you?" Miao Yi furiously roared.
"Mountain Chieftain has great foresight indeed." Tu Sanliang’s hearty laughter could be heard coming from the mountain forests to the side. "Little scum Miao Yi. We have been waiting a long time for you!"