The three of them turned to look at the source of the sound.
Under the moonlight, the mountain forests seemed ethereal. As the beating of the dragon steeds hooves echoed, over two hundred men suddenly jumped out from both sides, and quickly blocked Miao Yi’s escape route.
Tu Sanliang, Lan Ye and Ma Hu each led their own troops and secured an area, their gazes feverish as they stared at Miao Yi as if he was a pile of treasure.
It would be rather difficult not to think of Miao Yi as treasure. The temptation of five hundred low-grade Orbs of Will and a Cave Master position of three Caves along with the assurance from their overwhelming numbers erased any doubt the three of them could ever have. How could they resist such an enticing opportunity? The Blue Lotus on their foreheads were already shining, and they were itching to strike.
As they were slowly surrounded by over two hundred men, Miao Yi saw the outline of a blue lotus on the foreheads of the three and was inwardly startled. Such an overwhelming force was already difficult enough for the three of them to deal with, much less against the three Blue Lotus experts at the same time.
He shot a glance at their attire and could roughly guess where they came from. He looked about and saw Chen Fei in the mix, and was even sure of himself, unable to help grinding his teeth as he shouted, "Xiong Xiao you dog scum. Come out!"
Lan Ye mocked, "Why would the Mountain Chieftain need to personally step out to deal with a little scumbag like you?" She turned to her sides, and laughed with an affectionate tone, "My two big brothers. Just leave this little scumbag to your little sister."
"There’s no need to trouble yourself, little sister. You can just stand aside and watch!" Ma Hu chuckled. Everyone wanted to behead Miao Yi and claim the reward.
Even Luo Shuangfei and Yuan Fang felt a little trepidation in their hearts at such a sight before them. They would be lying if they said they were not scared.
Miao Yi spread his arms out, and clumps of silver mist enshrouded him within. Instantly, both man and steed donned their armors, and the Inversed-Scales Spear materialized in Miao Yi’s hands.
When they saw the treasures wrapped around his whole body, the eyes of Tu Sanliang and the rest brightened even further. They wanted to prevent Miao Yi from going off even more now.
Luo Shuangfei and Yuan Fang naturally readied their weapons as swiftly as they could as well.
Miao Yi quickly scanned their surroundings, and narrowed his eyes on the gap between the three Blue Lotus experts. With a thrust of his spear, he roared, "Follow me and kill!"
There was no chance of victory in this battle. They could only hope to break past the encirclement.
‘Harrumph!’ Under Miao Yi, Charcoal could feel the fury he released only when he was about to risk his life, and gave a long neigh. He swiftly beat his hooves and charged towards the forces surrounding them.
Luo Shuangfei and Yuan Fang both raised their spears and swiftly followed suit.
"Stop them! Don’t let them escape!" Lan Ye shouted.
"Us Sword Deviate Sect disciples will be the ones to take the kill! Sword Formation!" Tu Sanliang shouted as the six flying swords on his back abruptly shot out.
Almost instantly, hundreds of flying swords shot over like a violent hurricane under the moonlight.
Clanging sounds echoed as Miao Yi, Luo Shuangfei and Yuan Fang furiously flailed about with their spears.
Swinging his spear about with the force of a mighty storm, Miao Yi instantly broke past the torrent of swords. Clanging sounds could be heard as sparks flickered on Charcoal’s body. Fortunately, Charcoal was protected by the armor artifact. Otherwise, he would definitely have perished on the spot. The flying swords simultaneously released by all those Sword Deviate Sect disciples were terrifying indeed.
Luo Shuangfei wasn't performing too badly either. Sparks flew as he swung the serrated spear about, knocking away the flying swords that were shot at him. Occasionally, a few that escaped his parries would manage to land a strike, but even those were deflected away by the dark red glow that flashed under his clothes.
Sadly, his mount was not as fortunate. It didn’t have an armor artifact protecting it like Charcoal did, and was struck by multiple flying swords almost instantaneously. It neighed in agony as it collapsed to the ground and tossed Luo Shuangfei away.
Yuan Fang had it even worse. Even though his cultivation was great, he did not have an impressive spear art like those of the two before him to protect himself against the relentless torrent of flying swords coming at him. In addition, he didn’t have any armor artifact protecting him.
If it was a one-on-one battle, or even if it was him against several of them at once, that would have been fine, but against the simultaneous onslaught of so many Sword Deviate Sect disciples, it was easy to imagine what the result of that would be. It happened in mere seconds—he was stabbed thrice in succession in the back, the tips of the swords piercing through his heart and out his chest, bringing out spurts of blood with it.
Similarly, his mount neighed as it fell to the ground, and tossed him off. His body trembled in mid-air as he was pierced by an additional dozen flying swords. While airborne, he spat out a mouthful of fresh blood and dropped his spear, falling to the ground like a hedgehog.
Luo Shuangfei had been sent flying across the sky and was flailing about with his spear, deflecting dozens of flying swords while he was in mid-air. He was cursing inwardly when he suddenly heard a sudden rush of wind, and quickly struck behind with his spear. However, he soon realized that it had come from Miao Yi’s spear.
As the two spears crossed one another, the reversed edge of the Inversed-Scales Spear twisted and hooked onto Luo Shuangfei’s spearhead. With a tug of his arm, Miao Yi pulled Luo Shuangfei, along with his spear, over while he was still in mid-air.
As he cut across the wind, Luo Shuangfei understood Miao Yi’s intent. He twisted his body around to knock away several flying swords. With his back facing Miao Yi, he spread his legs and balanced behind him, rapidly swinging his serrated spear about to knock away the chaotic torrent of swords. At the same time, he smiled, "And here I thought you would just be concerned with running away by yourself, and leave me behind."
He had been so listless before. It had been such a long time since a smile was seen on his face. Yet he was smiling now, while they were in the midst of such danger.
Turning to look at Yuan Fang being buried under the stomping hooves of dragon steeds, Miao Yi was filled with an indescribable rage. How could he be in the mood to joke around with Luo Shuangfei? He already charged straight into the crowd before him, his spear dancing like a dragon as countless cold glints erupted from his hands. He sent men flying continuously as he thrust with his spear, furiously roaring, "Those who stand in my path shall die!"
Furthermore, with Luo Shuangfei and his extraordinary spear art behind him eliminating any potential cause for worry, Miao Yi only concerned himself with madly charging straight ahead. Flesh and blood splattered about as he butchered his way through.
Rushing in from both sides to stop him, Tu Sanliang and the other two never expected that Miao Yi’s charging force would be so savage. They were unable stop him even with their great advantage in numbers—as if he were cleaving through waves, men and their mounts fell under Miao Yi’s onslaught. In that instant, Tu Sanliang exclaimed, "Stop him! Whoever retreats shall die!"
It wasn’t the first time that Xiong Xiao’s subordinates had to fight against Miao Yi. They already had some experience in dealing with him. Immediately, a dozen cultivators leapt away from their dragon steeds, and sent a final order to their mounts. They were prepared to sacrifice their dragon steeds to stop Miao Yi. A dozen dragon steeds ferociously charged straight towards him without a care for their own survival.
Miao Yi was extremely surprised. Before he could react, he suddenly felt a torrent of rage surging from Charcoal’s body and faintly saw a demonic red glow in his eyes. Miao Yi instantly recalled the scene on the island.
Luo Shuangfei didn’t sense the change in Charcoal’s behaviour from where he was seated at the back. He only felt that the dragon steed under him had suddenly become faster by a great deal, to the point where even he was a little disbelieving. ‘How can a dragon steed actually run this fast?’
Whilst swinging his spear about, Miao Yi also took a deep breath then. He had never experienced Charcoal running so fast before. His entire body felt like it was piercing through the rushing wind.
"WUU…" Suddenly, Charcoal made a roar that didn’t seem possible for a dragon steed to make. Lowering his previously raised head, he charged straight ahead with the top of his skull facing forward. He clearly intended to challenge the dozen dragon steeds charging at him alone. An astonishingly fearsome aura instantly erupted from Charcoal.
The dragon steeds surrounding them on either sides appeared to have sensed something peculiar as well and became quite jittery; so much so that even their masters seated on them found it difficult to rein them in. Their eyes revealed a sense of dread and terror, as though they wanted to avoid Charcoal and didn’t dare to approach him.
The dozen dragon steeds charging over were in a similar situation—all of them tried to move aside to avoid Charcoal. However, both sides were moving too fast and there was no time to dodge.
Charcoal’s full-body armor began to shine with a dazzling glow as he charged forward like a lightning bolt. Several deep booms resounded, and blood spewed from the dragon steeds charging over as they were sent flying one after another. Charcoal’s momentum didn’t fall at all as he continued plowing his way through, blasting dragon steeds away in quick succession. Those witnessing the sight were completely horrified by the earth-shattering force behind those thundering booms. ‘Those are dragon steeds that are being sent flying away in a straight-on collision! They're being blasted away…’
The ferocity and ruthlessness of that charge caused most of the cultivators planning to stop him to back away in fear. How could they survive if they crashed into him?
The cultivators that had been rushing in from both sides were now retreating back from the terror of it as well.
A gap instantly appeared in the path ahead. Charcoal quickly leapt and landed a hundred meters away, then fiercely stomped his hooves and galloped away.
Over a hundred mounts behind him immediately spun about to chase after him. Ma Hu even released a swarm of ‘Venomous Golden-Winged Bees’ from his beast sack to give chase. However, not even they could catch up to the two men seated on the dragon steed ahead.
The rest of them naturally fell further behind from their target as well. Ma Hu exclaimed, "What an astonishing armor artifact for a mount!"
They immediately assumed that Charcoal’s unstoppable momentum and speed was due to his armor artifact. A dragon steed would not have been able to run so fast otherwise.
Lan Ye painfully said, "He actually managed to escape!"
Tu Sanliang ground his teeth and said, "There will come a time when the energy supply of his armor artifact is completely expended. He won’t be able to maintain it for too long, much less while carrying two men. He will slow down eventually. We can’t let him escape. After him!"
The rewards to be obtained from killing Miao Yi caused these two hundred mounts to chase after him in a frenzy.
Riding on Charcoal in a desperate effort to escape, Miao Yi was as surprised as he was pleased. He never thought that Charcoal could erupt with such an explosive burst of strength at such a crucial time. His strength was so immense that it was difficult to believe it was real. It was truly astonishing. If it weren’t for Charcoal today, he and Luo Shuangfei may still be in a precarious situation.
‘Could it have something to do with Charcoal refining Yao Cores?’ With the Inversed-Scales Spear in his hand, Miao Yi gently patted Charcoal’s back. His mind was set. Since Charcoal could obtain such benefits from refining Yao Cores and since he liked to eat it anyway, from now on Miao Yi decided to obtain more Yao Cores to feed Charcoal if he could. Even if it was just to thank him for his efforts.
Seated back-to-back behind him, Luo Shuangfei saw that they had already left their pursuers so far behind that not a trace of them could be seen. He suddenly jumped up and returned to a normal sitting position and asked cheerily, "I never thought your dragon steed’s armor artifact could be so impressive. Where did you get it? One day, I’ll have one made too."
Miao Yi’s expression was sombre. He was in no mood to entertain Luo Shuangfei. The sight of dozens of the corpses on the lotus pond and Yuan Fang’s brutal death was still vivid in his mind. If his guess was correct, then the others might have...
"Xiong Xiao you dog scum! I swear I will not rest until either one of us is dead!" Miao Yi grit his teeth and suddenly roared.
Behind him, Luo Shuangfei asked, "Where do we go now?"
"We will first head to Mount Calming Sea to steady our position and assess the situation. Then, we will take revenge on that dog scum!" As he ground his teeth, Miao Yi suddenly looked down and discovered Luo Shuangfei’s arms were wrapped around his waist. Knitting his brows, he asked, "What do you think you are doing?"
He never had a habit of being embraced by men. He never expected that from behind him, Luo Shuangfei would meekly reply, "Your mount is going too fast. I’m a little scared."
Miao Yi was lost for words. The demonic red glow in Charcoal’s eyes had already dissipated and he was out of his berserk state. How could he be too fast now? He was clearly back to his normal state. At most, he was just slightly faster than normal dragon steeds. It wasn't to the point that one would feel terrified.
"Release your hands," said Miao Yi, tapping on a certain someone’s arms.
"I almost lost my life just now. I was so scared that my legs are still a little weak right now. It’s not like you’re losing anything just from me hugging you a little. Why be so petty?" Luo Shuangfei found a good excuse, and rendered Miao Yi speechless. Then, he chuckled as he asked, "Milord. It was such a dangerous situation just now. Why did you still think of saving me?"