"Miao Yi, you piece of scum! Don’t think you can run away!"
Miao Yi and the rest had broken through a heavy siege. At the sound of the angry curses behind them, they reined in their steeds, then leaped through the air over a river a dozen meters wide. When their steeds landed on the other side, they had entered the territory of South Edict Manor. The river acted as a boundary line between the two territories.
Finally, they’d managed to flee into the lands of South Edict Manor. Miao Yi and his men turned back and saw a group of steeds hastily halting their movements on the other side of the river. The enraged men pointed at Miao Yi and cursed furiously, yet they were afraid to cross over to pursue him further.
The twenty or so cultivators on that side stopped as well, and all of them let out consecutive sighs of relief. They gazed at each other and came to the realization that everyone had made it back safely. Suddenly, they burst into laughter. That had truly been a thrilling adventure.
The troops opposite the river were becoming increasingly harsh with their curses. On the other hand, Miao Yi and the others were feeling relieved, and their laughter redoubled, as if they were trying to taunt the cursing men.
But suddenly a whooshing sound rang out from afar on the other side of the river. A silhouette came rushing from a distance and abruptly stopped right above the river. An old man was levitating in mid-air, with bright eyes and a Red Lotus Third Grade blooming between his brows. He gazed coldly at Miao Yi and the others at the other side of the boundary, as though he was a celestial being.
This person wasn’t a stranger. He was one of the two great advisors of the Suppressing Third Hall—Pang Rang.
Miao Yi and the others’ eyes were wide open—this was a Red Lotus expert! Instantly, they became nervous. If this person tried to make a move, they could kiss their lives goodbye.
"It’s Advisor Pang!" Those who had seen Pang Rang before couldn’t help but exclaim at the sight of him.
However, they soon bemoaned the situation as it became apparent that Pang Rang also didn’t dare to cross the boundary to kill them. If the underlings were to stir up trouble, it was still possible for the superiors to control the situation. But if Pang Rang tried to violate the rules, then there was a possibility that both manors would get caught up in the fight and create a great war between them.
Miao Yi and the others could also tell that Pang Rang was afraid to cross the border to kill them. And with that, they felt relieved. It was truly fortunate that they had managed to reach this side on time. If they had been a bit too late, their lives would now be in great peril. Evidently, the Suppression Third Hall hadn’t dispatched a Red Lotus expert just to monitor the situation. It was obvious after carefully considering the circumstances.
Pang Rang was aggravated when he shifted his gaze from the opposite bank to the troops of Suppressing Third Hall beneath him. These people had failed to catch their target. It was utterly pointless to stand guard on that side since they were only making things worse.
Of course he would be mad. He was sent here by order of Wu Menglan to decimate the escapees. Regardless whether his targets had crossed the boundary or not, he could still cross to the other side and annihilate them. This was a wasteland surrounded by barren mountains; no one would ever know that he had crossed over to kill a group of people in their territory.
However, there were hundreds of people watching him from below. Despite being members of the Suppressing Third Hall, they could still spread rumors given the large number of witnesses. Who could guarantee that they wouldn’t leak out the news should he decide to kill Miao Yi and the others? He couldn’t possibly silence hundreds of troops just for the sake of killing twenty or so people, could he?
Miao Yi and his men were afraid to run as well. They stood there and stayed respectfully still. They were afraid that any sudden movement on their part would only serve to irritate Pang Rang, and they couldn’t afford to provoke him into crossing the border and killing them instantly.
Nothing good could come out from crossing the border and killing these people. But he couldn’t report back to the Hall Master if he didn’t kill them either! A mischievous glint flashed before Pang Rang’s eyes as he suddenly extended his arms. A black gourd emerged from his storage ring, and with a pop of its neck, the gourd poured out black ink, leaving a mass of black water floating in the air.
With one hand, Pang Rang took back and stored the black gourd while he submerged two fingers with his other hand into the floating water. He stirred the water rapidly and turned the mass into a whirlpool.
Even though Miao Yi didn’t understand what the hell this person was doing, he could tell that something wasn’t right. Certainly, Pang Rang wouldn’t do anything without reason given the circumstances. He was definitely going to direct this whirlpool at them.
Now wasn’t the time to be concerned about that. Miao Yi quickly turned around and yelled, "This isn’t good. Quickly, run away!"
The twenty or so steeds immediately turned and ran the other way as fast as they could.
The troops on the other side of the river looked up at the sky and saw Pang Rang forcefully stirring that mass of black water. The mass then rapidly expanded, causing the water to turn into countless black droplets.
They invoked their transcendence vision and looked closely, realizing that Pang Rang’s transcendence energy had transformed the mass of black water into a cluster of ice needles, each as thin as a cow’s hair.
"Go!" Pang Rang commanded, suddenly flinging his sleeves. With his transcendence energy going berserk, the many ice needles immediately shot toward the opposite side of the boundary like a sudden torrential rain.
Miao Yi and the cultivators were shocked as they turned their heads to look behind them. They immediately turned their bodies around, spinning their weapons to fend off the needles.
A series of ‘clings’ and ‘clangs’ ensued. Their weapons moved rapidly, shattering the densely-packed shower of ice needles into pieces.
As expected of a Red Lotus expert, he could easily shoot these fragile ice needles from a distance. Not only had he managed to break their transcendence energy defenses, their hands were now numb, and they almost loosened their grip on their weapons from the vibration.
Even if Miao Yi's spear technique was considered formidable, he would have a difficult time blocking all these fine, speedy ice needles. All he could do was struggle with all his might to protect himself from harm. The others did the same as well. They could only care about their own protection above everything else.
The worst part was that Miao Yi had already taken off his battle armor because he’d wanted to reduce Charcoal’s burden, and because they would be fleeing a long distance. Besides, he would be protected by Tian Qingfeng and the others, and they hadn’t expected such a dangerous encounter along the way.
Despite their best efforts to resist the attack, they were beginning to feel pain on several parts of their bodies. They had been pierced with a few shards from the ice needles.
Their own dragon steeds were naturally wounded as well. The twenty or so cultivators and steeds were immediately thrown to the ground from the assault.
But the strange thing was, upon piercing the body, these projectiles immediately dissolved once they came into contact with their blood. Only small droplets of blood appeared on the surface of the skin. It seemed like they hadn’t suffered any major injuries, but they did feel twinges on their bodies, and even their dragon steeds suffered the same as well.
The luckiest one among them all was none other than Luo Shuangfei. He wrapped his legs around his dragon steed’s abdomen area and protected his head and whatever he could from harm. These ice needles couldn’t hurt him at all because he was protected by the armored artifact underneath his clothes.
It didn’t matter whether they were harmed or not since their top priority was to escape from danger first. All of them reined in their steeds once more and fled for their lives.
Floating in mid-air on the other side of the river, Pang Rang revealed a sardonic grin as he watched Miao Yi and the others disappearing from his view. He hadn’t crossed the boundary and killed anyone. With a hurl of his sleeves, he abruptly darted away into the distance, leaving the group by the river to exchange confused looks...
Pang Rang returned to the Suppressing Third Hall to report what he’d done. By the misty mountain valley outside the palace hall, he saw the well-developed figure of Wu Menglan, clad in a long dress, overlooking the distant mountains in a dignified manner.
"How did it go?" Wu Menglan spoke without turning her head.
Behind her back, Pang Rang clasped his fists together and said, "When I arrived there, they had already fled into the territory of the Suppressing Second Hall. Because there were a lot of witnesses, it was quite inconvenient to cross over to the other side to kill them. There wasn’t a better way to handle the situation at that moment, so I showered them with ‘ghost rain’ from a distance. They probably won’t be able to find a cure at South Edict Manor. I believe they will not survive long enough to find the cure."
"Nicely done. I appreciate your efforts in dealing with this trouble, Advisor Pang. Head down and take a rest," Wu Menglan said with a nod.
"Not at all. I will take my leave!" Pang Rang gestured by cupping his fists. He then turned around and floated away...
Miao Yi and the others had been focused on running away to Mount Calming Sea, so at first they didn’t seem to notice the effects of being inflicted with the ice needles. They found nothing weird after repeatedly invoking their arts to examine themselves. They even asked one another about their condition, and everyone felt the same.
They immediately began to suspect that something was amiss. What was the meaning of their opponent’s skill? Luo Shuangfei was the only one who remained silent throughout their escape.
Just when they were about to reach Mount Calming Sea, everyone slowly began to notice that something was wrong. They could feel their blood circulation gradually slowing down and showing signs of solidification.
In an instant, they knew that they were in grave danger. They tried to invoke their arts to accelerate their blood circulation, but the attempts were futile, as they could only feel their bodies getting colder. The coldness made their bones ache, and with that, they knew that they had been poisoned.
Miao Yi had never been poisoned before. Once he noticed that something was amiss, he quickly invoked his arts and powered up the source of his transcendence energy, sparking a flame at its core. This swiftly destroyed every bit of the poison in his body into ashes. The ability to remove poison was incredibly effective.
Because Luo Shuangfei wasn’t inflicted with the ice needles, he was completely fine.
On the other hand, the ability of the dragon steeds’ constitution to resist poison seemed to be much superior than those of a human. They only began to show a reaction toward the poison after reaching Mount Calming Sea. The steeds carried the cultivators at a pace much slower than their normal speed, and barged through the Mount Calming Sea’s mountain gates. Their speed at that moment was akin to that of a normal steed.
The cultivators guarding the mountain gates already knew that Miao Yi had become the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Calming Sea. They didn’t block him from entering. Instead, they cupped their fists together and greeted, "Mountain Chieftain!"
Miao Yi ignored these guards and quickly charged through the gates with Tian Qingfeng and the others behind him. The cultivators at the gates gazed at Tian Qingfeng and the others in astonishment.
They did this because these men were shivering incessantly on top of their steeds. They were coated with a layer of frost. Their current condition made it appear like they had been stung by the little mantids.
As soon as they rushed toward the side entrance of the Mountain Chieftain’s residence, Yan Xiu, Qian’Er, and Xue’Er, who were startled by the noises, were already running out.
Seeing Miao Yi and the others’ distress, Yan Xiu exclaimed, "Mountain Chieftain, what is going on?"
When they heard the news that Miao Yi had returned, the troops of Mount Calming Sea rushed over to greet their Mountain Chieftain. Miao Yi wasted no time on these niceties and quickly ordered the crowd to support Tian Qingfeng and the others, who were facing difficulty in dismounting them from their steeds, into the residence.
Miao Yi promptly reined in Charcoal and jumped into the courtyard first. Charcoal’s resistance was clearly stronger than ordinary dragon steeds, but Miao Yi could feel that the poison inside Charcoal’s body had begun to show an effect. Charcoal would at times give a pained expression to Miao Yi.
Tian Qingfeng and his men were carried into the courtyard and crossed their legs to sit on the ground, struggling to resist the poison by desperately invoking their arts.
"Mountain Chieftain…" Someone tried to come forward and greet Miao Yi in an attempt to be friendly with him. After all, Miao Yi’s influence in Mount Calming Sea was greater than that of Xiong Xiao in Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor.
He didn’t expect Miao Yi to be in a foul temper. He said in a low voice, "Yan Xiu, Qian’Er, and Xue’Er can stay. As for the others, get out. No one can come in without my permission."
"Mountain Chieftain, what happened?" One of the troops asked as they gazed at Tian Qingfeng and the other cultivators, trying to show their concern.
Miao Yi’s face twisted and he roared, "Scram!"
Everyone was speechless from his rebuke. In their hearts, they thought, ‘Sure enough, this guy is famous for being overbearing. The days ahead will be difficult.’ They could only dismiss themselves in embarrassment.
After waiting for them to clasp their fists together and dismiss themselves in quick succession, Miao Yi then looked at Charcoal, who was already staggering and swaying about. He quickly went in front of Luo Shuangfei and said in a low voice, "Can purple marten cure them of their poison?"
Luo Shuangfei nodded, but quickly shook his head, as if something had popped into his mind.
Clearly, he was hiding something from him. Miao Yi looked cold and said, "Quickly take out the purple marten and cure them of the poison."
Luo Shuangfei shook his head again, which prompted Miao Yi to extend his hand and reiterate, "Take it out!"
Luo Shuangfei widened his eyes and stared at him. He took a step backward and shook his head once more.
Just then, a few thumping noises rang out from outside. Miao Yi swiftly flashed toward the noise and saw twenty or so dragon steeds tumbling down one-by-one. They were already frozen solid from the frost on their bodies.
After Miao Yi examined the steeds by holding out his hand and invoking his art, he gasped in surprise. These dragon steeds had no transcendence energy to resist the frost, so they had already been poisoned to death.