"We know you’re from Suppressing Second Hall," bantered one of them.
This person was none other than Liu Tong, a cultivator of Blue Lotus First Grade. He was the first among the troops of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor to surrender to Xiong Xiao. When Xiong Xiao had killed the troops in a murderous rage, he had significantly contributed to the eradication as well. As a result, he had acquired Xiong Xiao’s heavy support. Furthermore, Xiong Xiao had also promised Liu Tong a seat among the ten respective Mountain Chieftains after he had complete control of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor.
When Liu Tong responded to Miao Yi, a bunch of them smiled teasingly, as if to say, ‘You asked what we were doing, isn’t it obvious?’
Miao Yi pointed his spear at Liu Tong and said, "Perhaps you are trying to start a war between two manors."
"Miao Yi, you piece of scum. It’s been a long time, I didn’t expect to meet you here. And I’m certainly relieved to see you. Looks like there’s divine justice after all!" Hearty laughter rang out from behind.
The sounds of more galloping pierced through the air. Those who were surrounding Miao Yi and his men quickly stepped aside, revealing Xiong Xiao as the leader of the second wave. His arrival was imposing, with a row of ten Mountain Chieftains following behind him. Behind each Mountain Chieftain was a number of subordinates too. These subordinates then blocked the exit from where they entered.
"Xiong… Xiong Xiao. Why are you here?" Miao Yi acted as if he were confused and shocked.
Luo Shuangfei’s actions were more exaggerated. He had never met Xiong Xiao before, yet he looked so overwhelmed with fright he could shove a fist in his mouth from how slack-jawed he was.
Meanwhile, Tian Qingfeng and the other two who tagged along with Miao Yi, appeared quite dignified, unlike Luo Shuangfei, who was over-exaggerating his act. He almost gave away their true intentions.
Miao Yi was actually quite surprised, not because Xiong Xiao was here—he’d known about it already—but because of the presence of the ten Mountain Chieftains of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor who accompanied him.
When Yang Qing and Liu Jingtian teamed up to annihilate Zhang Decheng, Miao Yi had briefly encountered these Mountain Chieftains before.
As of now, there were hundreds of troops surrounding the five of them. The ten Mountain Chieftains were all Blue Lotus Cultivators, including a few troops from the Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor too. Fortunately for Miao Yi, Xiong Xiao had spent the past few days personally exterminating some of them to secure his control over the troops.
Even so, it was still enough to make Miao Yi think that the situation had gone awry. The twenty Blue Lotus Cultivators he’d brought with him might not be able to last through the battle.
The School of Blue Jade was just a small sect, not a bottomless pit of endless cultivators. There were only two Red Lotus Cultivators in the entire school. The other Blue Lotus Cultivators had been worn down repeatedly at the South Edict Manor, and Miao Yi kept getting his forces killed. The School of Blue Jade were already terrified by this outcome. More importantly, they saw no benefit to helping Miao Yi because of this. So when Miao Yi requested for more troops this time, Tong Renmei was hesitant and only replied ambiguously.
After being informed that Miao Yi had been promoted to Mountain Chieftain—and that Miao Yi was allowing them to charge him with a higher interest—Tong Renmei sent out nearly all the remaining Blue Lotus Cultivators in the School of Blue Jade. A few skilled ones stayed behind to guard the sect, but the rest were dispatched just to fulfill Miao Yi’s requirement of twenty people.
If none of the disciples survived like on previous occasions, Miao Yi would not be able to enlist another person from the School of Blue Jade ever again.
‘Why am I so unlucky? How could I let Xiong Xiao slip away again this time?’ Miao Yi could only force a laugh in his heart. No matter how much he planned things out, fate would always intervene.
Seeing how shocked Miao Yi was, Xiong Xiao let out a boisterous laugh to the sky—"HAHA!" He was quite delighted to find that this guy really had no clue that he’d become the Manor Head of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. No wonder these five people had brazenly rushed into his manor. They’d really thrown themselves into a perilous situation.
After Xiong Xiao was done laughing, he loudly announced to Miao Yi, "I have become the new Manor Head of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor!"
Miao Yi was once again shocked. He pointed at Xiong Xiao with his spear and asked, "You are the Manor Head?"
"That’s right!" Xiong Xiao crowed. There was an evil smile plastered on his face.
Miao Yi pointed at Xiong Xiao with his spear again and furiously roared, "Xiong Xiao, you dog scum. How could you betray the Manor Head?"
"You’re wrong! A wise man chooses a good master to serve. Yang Qing couldn’t tolerate me anymore, so naturally I surrendered and pledged to serve another master—one more capable and wise." Xiong Xiao was not ashamed of his actions. Instead, he continued to laugh as he said, "Yang Qing is a Manor Head, and now I am one as well. We are both Manor Heads, how can you say that I betrayed him?"
"Manor Head will definitely not forgive you!" Miao Yi said with a righteous tone.
"You don’t have to worry about that. You’d better worry about yourself," Xiong Xiao mocked, "Miao Yi, if you surrender to me of your own will, I will spare your life."
This was a false promise. He wanted to force Miao Yi into writing an issue of surrender and then send someone to deliver it to South Edict Manor to agitate and taunt Yang Qing. Hadn’t Wu Menglan highly recommend because she wanted to see this scenario play out? As long as he could make Wu Menglan happy, Xiong Xiao wouldn’t mind sparing Miao Yi’s life for the time being.
However, once Miao Yi wrote the issue of surrender, he would still kill him. How could their years-long enmity be resolved with just one ‘surrender’? If that were the case, Miao Yi wouldn’t have come all the way here to Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor.
Nevertheless, for Xiong Xiao to be able to become a Manor Head this quick with his current cultivation base, Miao Yi definitely had a hand in Xiong Xiao’s swift advancement. Both of them had an effect on each other’s lives.
"Manor Head has been treating me well. I would rather die than surrender!" Miao Yi was adamant when he refused to yield. However, his tone instantly turned milder when he said, "I am a member of Suppressing Second Hall. If you dare touch me, have you thought of the consequences?"
Xiong Xiao clicked his tongue and shook his head, "Who saw me make a move on you exactly? It’s obvious that you were the one who came to attack my manor. I was forced to fight back. So you think you can humiliate my people of the Suppressing Third Hall just because you are from the Suppressing Second Hall? Do you think the Suppressing Third Hall won’t retaliate against you?"
He was able to utter those words because he could see that Miao Yi and his men were unable to escape and that no one would be able to go back to Suppressing Second Hall to make a report. Silencing Miao Yi and his men would mean that no one would live to tell the tale. If they died at Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor, then wouldn’t that mean they could fabricate the reason for their deaths as they pleased?
Xiong Xiao was completely emboldened and fearless. No matter how divided his subordinates were to him, they wouldn’t go to the Suppressing Second Hall and report him as the initiator of the fight. If someone were to really do that, Wu Menglan would be the first to hunt the snitch down without mercy.
"I am not going to engage with you in a battle of wits or dispute the rights with the wrongs." Miao Yi pretended to be nervous and took a deep breath before he continued, "I came here for a different issue. Dozens of years ago, your Mount Returning Loyalty ambushed my East Arrival Cave. I have sent the list of remunerations every year, yet you keep ignoring it. I have no choice but to come personally to collect the debt. As long as you pay up according to the list, I will leave immediately."
"Is something wrong with his brain?" Liu Tong sneered at one side. Instantly, many of them burst into laughter.
Xiong Xiao, on the other hand, scowled. "Perhaps you are desperate to reorganize your troops after your East Arrival Cave has been through a bloodbath. Is that why you’ve come all this way to collect the debt?"
Miao Yi acted stunned as if Xiong Xiao had correctly guessed his plan. However, he refused to admit to it, and he didn’t dare mention the person who annihilated his East Arrival Cave. He only asked, "Are you going to pay or not?"
"What will you do to me if I don’t pay up?" Xiong Xiao responded with a sneer.
Even if he could pay up, he would not do so. The debts from previous years had never been paid, and he would not embarrass himself by entertaining the debts right after being appointed as the new Manor Head. Besides, there was no need to pay Miao Yi in the first place. Only a weirdo would keep on sending the list of remunerations for dozens of years without fail.
"Then let’s talk about it when you are willing to pay up." Miao Yi guided his dragon steed to turn around and said, "Let’s go!"
Miao Yi suddenly became courteous—he didn’t even retaliate. In the eyes of the crowd, it was clear that Miao Yi was frightened.
"You wish to leave?" Xiong Xiao guffawed. He waved his hand and roared, "Take him down!"
Upon his signal, about ten people immediately rushed in.
"Wu…" Tian Qingfeng faced the sky and instantly howled. His voice reverberated through their surroundings as illusory petals of the Blue Lotus Fourth Grade appeared on his forehead. Xiong Xiao twitched at seeing its image.
‘This guy has a Blue Lotus Fourth Grade Cultivator accompanying him?’ Xiong Xiao was stunned.
But there was still more. Except for Luo Shuangfei and Miao Yi, the others were all Blue Lotus Cultivators. The group that rushed towards them were no match for these five people.
Miao Yi struck his spear out like a dragon and knocked out a number of foes; Luo Shuangfei’s strange yet poisonous spear technique had also killed several with one strike. Meanwhile, Tian Qingfeng and the other two used their highly-skilled cultivation to overwhelm their forces, killing them with their spears.
With a few close strikes, ten people had been completely struck down from their steeds. The ground pooled with blood—it was a terrifying scene.
At the same time, everyone was surprised to hear the sounds of galloping approaching from both sides of the forest, prompting them to look around at their surroundings.
"Who dares harm our lord?!"
Seventeen voices shouted at once, shaking the surrounding mountain as they burst forth from the forest. With nine people in one group and eight in the other, the uniformed Blue Lotus Cultivators converged together. Their leader had already joined Miao Yi’s side with a commanding air, ready to act no matter the terrain. These cultivators came forward at full speed, like ferocious wolves and tigers from both sides.
At that moment, Miao Yi revealed a sinister expression. He thrust back his spear and pointed at Xiong Xiao. "Xiong Xiao, you dog scum. How dare you look down on Suppressing Second Hall. Today will be the day you die. Go for the kill!"
As per their plan, it was advised that they should not entangle themselves in battle. Their priority was to take Xiong Xiao’s life. Tian Qingfeng, who had the highest cultivation base, immediately rushed towards Xiong Xiao for the kill. Miao Yi and the others turned their spears around with the intention to guard Tian Qingfeng against all sides. Three Blue Lotus Cultivators followed Tian Qingfeng from behind and lunged straight for Xiong Xiao like a sharp blade.
The Blue Lotus Fourth Grade Cultivator was the first to pounce at him. Xiong Xiao was greatly frightened and growled furiously, "Stop them! Go for the kill!"
Several Mountain Chieftains behind Xiong Xiao exchanged glances, and then unexpectedly turned around and left with their men. These people really wanted Xiong Xiao dead. They couldn’t take action on their own accord, but now that someone else had decided to kill him, they wouldn’t hinder their course. It would be better if they didn’t interfere.
Seeing them leave the scene, the other Mountain Chieftains hesitated for a while before looking at the situation. They were shocked at the sight—‘Shit, they’re all Blue Lotus Cultivators. We have no relation to you, Xiong Xiao, and we aren’t friends either. Why should we risk our lives for you?’
None of the ten respective Mountain Chieftains wanted to help Xiong Xiao. But they weren’t fools either. They didn’t immediately run away because if they did, they wouldn’t be able to report the details of their duty to their superior. Instead, they shrieked at the top of their lungs to cheer for the opposition forces while running around amidst the chaos. In other words, none of them wanted to engage in the fight.
Xiong Xiao had a few Blue Lotus Cultivators among his troops. On top of that, he had a great number of troops to hold back the opposition forces. They managed to block Tian Qingfeng and the others from reaching Xiong Xiao.
It would be unthinkable to be trapped by so many and have their mobility hindered. Miao Yi and the others were suddenly caught in a dangerous situation as they engaged in the bloody battle.
Fortunately, the reinforcements came down from both sides in a ferocious surge and killed Xiong Xiao’s troops as if cleaving through a wave. The massacre had dragon steeds shrieking in pain, with blood and carnage spilling all over the place. Whatever path they slaughtered through, screeches and cries would follow.
Seventeen Blue Lotus experts were able to easily shake off the assault. After regrouping with Miao Yi and the others, they moved forward and went on the offensive like madmen.
Amongst Miao Yi’s troops, three Blue Lotus Third Grade Cultivators charged ahead with great strength to aid Tian Qingfeng in breaking through the opposition’s fortification, and immediately massacred two Blue Lotus Cultivators from the Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. One of them was Liu Tong—he was beheaded with one strike.
Without any experts to hold them off, none of them could endure the assault much longer. Twenty-two mounted cultivators immediately broke through the siege with Tian Qingfeng in the lead, throwing men and steeds off their feet. They were unstoppable as they charged at Xiong Xiao, who stood at the end of the line.
Xiong Xiao almost spat out a mouthful of blood when he looked around to see the ten Mountain Chieftains loudly running around, making no effort to take action.