Chapter 28: Li Xin’s Scheme
Transient Light Cave currently belonged to one of the ten caves under the rule of Du Zhangxing, Mount Calming Sea’s Mountain Chieftain. A few days ago, Mount Calming Sea sent out news to each domain’s Cave Master saying that the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Shaotai, Yang Qing, had broken through to Blue Lotus Fifth Grade. There was a possibility that Du Zhangxing had asked about Manor Head Ding’s ambition, thus requiring each respective Cave Masters to strictly keep a close watch on Yang Qing’s movements.
Hence, Yuan Zhengkun dispatched two of his best subordinates Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao to go.
Now, seeing the both of them urgently barging in without ceremony, he deduced that they had news of a radical nature to report. His heart sank as he asked, “How is the current situation? Did Yang Qing listen to the summons?”
Regardless of Du Zhangxing, Mountain Chieftain of Mount Calming Sea or Yang Qing, Mountain Chieftain of Mount Shaotai, they were all under Lu Yu, the Manor Head of South Edict Manor.
The moment Yang Qing’s cultivation had broken through to the fifth grade of Blue Lotus, Manor Head Lu Yu had felt threatened, and so he issued a law decree to transfer and appoint Yang Qing to his side. His motive was none other than to separate Yang Qing from his troops, effectively stripping him of power.
All the Mountain Chieftains under South Edict Manor were waiting to see whether Yang Qing would accept the law decree or not. If he did, then it would prove Yang Qing did not harbor any wicked ambitions, and so everyone could feel at ease.
Li Xin cupped his fists submissively and explained in a hurried tone, “Cave Master, when the Manor Head’s law decree reached Mount Shaotai, Yang Qing was in a thundering rage. He exclaimed that Manor Head Lu Yu had gone too far and his behaviour could not be tolerated any longer. In front of everyone watching, he beheaded the Doctrine Envoy, and then immediately banded together his force of ten caves to launch an attack into the territory of Mount Calming Sea. Both Ten Thousand Spirits Cave and Sun Believer Cave have been breached. Yang Qing’s troops are charging towards Transient Light Cave at top speed right now.”
Yuan Zhengkun gasped in shock, “Is Yang Qing mad? He only commands the forces of one mountain, and now dares to challenge the Manor Head’s forces of nine mountains?”
Sun Jiaojiao cupped her fists with both hands and exclaimed, “Yang Qing has already obtained Lan Yumen’s support. Lan Yumen dispatched a band of his sect’s disciples to accompany Yang Qing’s army. This is definitely not a coincidence. Yang Qing has obviously been colluding with Lan Yumen and made plans to attack long before this!”
Li Xin requested earnestly, “Cave Master, Transient Light Cave can no longer be defended, let’s retreat!”
“Scoundrel!” thundered Yuan Zhengkun abruptly, in a fit of rage. “The Mountain Chieftain has always been good to me, and I have been entrusted the protection of Transient Light Cave because of his confidence in my abilities. How can I flee without putting up a fight! Who serves as the vanguard under Yan Qing’s command? Once I have straightened out Transient Light Cave, I will crush that scum Yang Qing’s spirit!”
Sun Jiaojiao replied, “The Cave Master of Hundred Blossoms Cave, Qin Weiwei is the vanguard.”
Yuan Zhengkun coldly sneered, “Qin Weiwei, that woman has guts to launch an attack against our Transient Light Cave! Watch how I’ll deal with her!”
Sun Jiaojiao immediately continued, “Yang Qing’s own forces, personally led by himself, are following right behind Qin Weiwei. The moment we found out, we rushed back as quickly as we could, hoping Cave Master will make an immediate decision.”
“...” Yuan Zhengkun’s expression froze, speechless.
He wasn’t afraid of Qin Weiwei, but if he were to engage in a battle against Qin Weiwei and then Yang Qing followed suit, then the joke would be on him. Putting aside Yang Qing’s large number of forces, there was also the matter of Yang Qing’s cultivation being at Blue Lotus Fifth Grade; he wouldn’t be able to defend against his attacks at all.
Li Xin earnestly requested again, “Cave Master, we will not be able to defend against Yang Qing with our might alone. Where there is life, there is still hope. Now the most important thing to do is make haste to the Mountain Chieftain’s side at once to help him conserve his strength. Once the Manor Head rounds up his forces to launch a counterattack, it will not be too late for us to fight back!”
Yuan Zhengkun hesitated. After great difficulty, he had finally become the Cave Master of Transient Light Cave, taking pleasure in its benefits for merely a year. With his position, he enjoyed the incense and power of will of ten thousand followers from Transient Light City—he really wasn’t willing to give up the meat he had in his mouth.
Sun Jiaojiao warned in a hastened tone, “Cave Master, Qin Weiwei is leading her forces here at great speed. At most, she’ll arrive in two hours so if we don’t retreat soon, then it will be impossible to leave once she has us in her sights!”
“It’s not as if I don’t know that!” Yuan Zhengkun lifted his head towards the sky and gave a long sigh. “The Mountain Chieftain has always been good to me. If I leave without engaging in battle, he would not easily forgive me. And even if he kept our old friendship in mind, there is also the Manor Head to consider. He should be bristling with indignation over this whole affair, and I fear he will make an example out of me to serve as a warning to others!”
Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao stared at each other speechlessly. There was no doubt that the Manor Head was furious over Yang Qing’s revolt. If he found out his subordinates had fled without going into battle, the Manor Head would definitely not let them get away with it.
All of a sudden, Sun Jiaojiao began to speak, hesitated for a long while, before gently parting her lips to say in a low voice, “Surrender!”
Yuan Zhengkun and Li Xin turned to look at her with great trepidation and fear—only trusted aides would dare to speak of such words between each other.
But, Yuan Zhengkun rapidly denied the idea of surrendering by shaking his head, “Yang Qing must have promised some benefits to Lan Yumen for him to agree to support him. Once South Edict Manor has been captured, not only will Yang Qing have to settle positions on his men for their great service, he also has to appease the disciples of Lan Yumen as well. There really will be too little to go around! There won’t be any advantages for us even if we surrender to them. We would be left standing by the sidelines, our reputations ruined all because we surrendered. So why torture ourselves?”
Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao went silent. They knew Yuan Zhengkun was speaking the truth. The couple, Yan Xiu and Luo Zhen, were the perfect example. Have they ever had any status in Transient Light Cave? Although their cultivation was at White Lotus Third Grade, they were still inferior to a Horse Deputy.
“I have a strategy that can help Cave Master escape this situation. But, Cave Master is a man of deep compassion and of unwavering loyalty, so I fear Cave Master will not accept this proposal.” Li Xin sighed insincerely.
“We’re already in this mess, so there’s no need to mince your words anymore.” Yuan Zhengkun stretched out his hand and said, “Speak out what’s on your mind!”
Li Xin immediately moved closer and muttered in his ear…
Clang clang clang!
The alarm in Transient Light Cave rang, causing all the cultivators to scuttle out of their cultivation residences when they heard it. They rushed to Hidden Dragon Valley, mounted their dragon steeds before rushing swiftly to gather outside of Transient Light Grand Hall.
Until now, Miao Yi did not have his own mount since his cultivation base was too low. The Cave Master wouldn’t concern himself with helping Miao Yi resolve his life difficulties, so he could only make do with riding the plump Charcoal.
He still had no clue of the events that transpired. He saw that everyone had taken their weapons with them; Yan Xiu, riding a dragon steed, held a pair of broad axes in his hands and even Luo Zhen wielded a long and large saber single-handedly, displaying her prowess.
“What happened?” Riding Charcoal, Miao Yi slowly caught up behind Yan Xiu. He used his Art to transmit his voice in a quiet inquiry.
“It’s nothing good. The alarm rang for a long time, which meant we’re going into battle soon,” Yan Xiu made a quiet reminder, “Brother, do you remember what I said to you before?”
The rumored struggle between cultivators had finally arrived? Heart tightening, Miao Yi nodded his head, understanding the meaning behind Yan Xiu’s words. If he could not win then he should just surrender, there was no need to throw your life away.
Everyone in Transient Light Cave gathered beneath the Grand Hall. A number of people simmered with laughter upon noticing the conspicuous ‘fat pig’ underneath Miao Yi.
When Cao Dingfeng realized the cause, he muttered to himself that it was due to his carelessness, noting that he would seek a better dragon steed for Miao Yi once he had the chance.
Abruptly, Cave Master Yuan Zhengkun rode his dragon steed out in a violent rush, directly charging towards the top of the flight of stairs leading to the Grand Hall. He raised a long halberd in the air and angrily shouted in a commanding voice, “Mountain Chieftain of Mount Shaotai, Yang Qing, is a wolf with wild ambitions. He hold aspirations for the Manor Head seat of South Edict Manor. Already, he has started his rebellion!”
The crowd was in an uproar. Miao Yi instantly transmitted his voice to ask Yan Xiu about the situation.
“The affairs this time are a bit major than normal. Yang Qing has the highest cultivation base in South Edict Manor, apart from Manor Head Lu Yu. Since he dared to declare war against Lu Yu, he must be confident in his victory...” Yan Xiu surreptitiously explained the stakes between them to Miao Yi.