"Eh? A battle has already started over there!"
As he swept a sharp gaze across the astrolabe, Yun Guang suddenly pointed to the spot just in front of Tang Jun. Everyone cast their gazes over and saw a cluster of bright dots in front of Tang Jun that were flickering vigorously. This was a sign that some of the people who'd disembarked had already begun crossing blades.
Yun Guang asked, "Tang Jun. These are troops from your Celestial Nation, right? Which Earthly Branch are they from?"
Tang Jun invoked his transcendence arts over the astrolabe. He immediately hid away the other locations on the Western Star Sea as he zoomed in on the area with the glimmering lights and projected it over the entire astrolabe. The cluster of dots instantly spread out into two thousand individual ones. They were all clearly visible now.
The voluptuous Ji Meimei giggled. "That should be the disembarkation point for the troops of the Celestial Nation's Fifth Earthly Branch. From the looks of it, quite a number of people are battling."
Yun Guang chuckled. "Interesting. A preemptive strike, I see!"
Behind him, Zuo Nanchun's gaze was darting across the astrolabe.
Tang Jun's expression slowly darkened; he was clearly a little displeased. They had just disembarked at the Sea of Constellations and wouldn't be bumping into the cultivators from the other five nations for the time being. And yet, the troops of the Celestial Nation had already begun killing one another. If all of their troops perished because of this, how would they be able to face off against the other five nations after this?
Everyone stared at it for a while and watched as white dots of light began to disappear. Soon, over two hundred dots had completely disappeared.
Shrouded in a deathly aura, Hei Yun snickered. "How decisive. More than two hundred have died already."
"Amitabha!" Grandmaster Qi Jie clapped his palms together and prayed.
Tang Jun had a blank look on his face and simply kept quiet.
In order to ensure fairness, the troops under the six nations had timed their departure schedules properly to arrive around the same time. Half a day later, the intermediaries who were sent to ensure the successful delivery of the participants returned and handed over the confirmation documents.
These intermediaries were all members of the Western Constellations Palace. Eventually, the person responsible for receiving the forces of the Celestial Nation's Fifth Earthly Branch delivered by Wu Menglan returned. As he was about to leave, Tang Jun suddenly asked, "Hold on, what exactly happened to the participants of my Fifth Earthly Branch? Why did they start killing each other as soon as they alighted?"
The man was startled. But he quickly gave a smile. As a member of the Western Constellations Palace, he had no reason to fear the overseers sent by the Six Sages. His tone was neither too humble nor too overbearing as he replied, "This incident started from the three major sects of the Fifth Earthly Branch. As soon as the troops alighted, the disciples of the three major sects from the Traversing Moon Palace immediately surrounded a man called Miao Yi—"
"Miao Yi?" Standing quietly behind Tang Jun all this while, Fairy Hong Chen's eyes suddenly shone, and she accidentally interrupted the man, causing many to cast their gazes towards her.
Tang Jun turned around and asked, "Does Junior Sister know this person?"
Fairy Hong Chen regained her composure, then shook her head. "I don't. I just find it peculiar that someone would dare stand against the three major sects on their own."
Tang Jun gave her a long look, but he cast his suspicions aside after thinking it through. This Junior Sister of his had a cold personality and didn't like making friends, much less with a no-name little brat. He turned back and said, "Please continue."
The man smiled as he continued, "That Miao Yi is quite impressive indeed. I've never seen a Blue Lotus cultivator as powerful as him. More than twenty people from the three major sects surrounded him, and yet he single-handedly triumphed against them and almost massacred the entire group. None of them could even withstand a single blow. He was even capable of knocking down dragon steeds with the residual force of his strikes, and with just one blow, no less. Then, all the disciples of the three major sects from the twelve palaces of the Fifth Earthly Branch sought to crush this common enemy. Over two hundred of them tried to kill him. Then out of nowhere, this Miao Yi suddenly rallied together a Red Scarves Alliance…."
After everyone heard the story, Yun Guang chuckled, "It is indeed quite rare to see a Blue Lotus cultivator capable of matching the endurance of a dragon steed with brute strength. And to be able to recruit so many of those with no background and bring them together shows that he's quite capable as well. I wonder how long he'll last."
Behind him, Zuo Nanchun's eyebrows creased heavily.
'Miao Yi?' When he first heard this name, Grandmaster Qi Jie raised a white eyebrow. His unruly disciple, who had a mind filled with thoughts of betraying the school, would always mention this name to him, so much so that he felt as if his ears would develop calluses. However, he shook his head and dismissed the thought. That person shouldn't be the same as the one he'd heard about—that person's status was lowly, and he couldn't even cultivate, much less possess such strength. There were plenty of people with the same name in this world. This should only be an example of that.
Fairy Hong Chen's breathtaking face, whose beauty could overthrow nations, remained expressionless. However, she secretly grasped her hands in a tight grip as her delicate fingers lay intertwined over her abdomen.
As soon as that man finished his story and departed, Tang Jun turned back and invoked his transcendence arts over the astrolabe again. The astrolabe glowed as it zoomed out of the previous image and presented the entire map of the Western Star Sea to everyone once more.
In the blink of an eye, that earlier discussion about Miao Yi was cast to the back of everyone's minds. It was because a minor character like this was truly not worth their attention. Even if it were someone with the rank of a Hall Master, the people present probably wouldn't be too concerned either. Tang Jun had only asked because he wanted to understand the situation...
Miao Yi led his troops across the desolate plains, past the verdant forest filled with lofty trees, and up to the snowy peaks of the mighty mountains. Snow billowed down as the frosty wind howled. Night had already fallen when Miao Yi had everyone come to a stop. They could all hear something moving, so they opened their transcendence vision and cast their gazes down the mountain, finding a bunch of people following them from behind.
"Why are they still following us? If they don't stop, our mounts will eventually collapse from fatigue." Zhao Fei gazed towards the foot of the mountain. "We have already crushed the three major sects. Could they be hoping to seek vengeance for them?"
Sikong Wuwei chuckled, "Seek vengeance for the three major sects? As if they'd be so kind. My guess is that they desire the treasures we earned and plan on joining hands to steal them away."
Wang Yuetian looked at Miao Yi and remarked, "Alliance Master. Regardless of what they're plotting, we should be ready, just in case!"
Miao Yi kept quiet as all three looked at him. After the previous battle, everyone had already accepted him as the Alliance Master. They were not only impressed by his combat strength but his intellect as well. If he hadn't drawn the attention of the three major sects, the Red Scarves Alliance wouldn't have caught them unprepared and wouldn't have been as successful in their ambush. If they had clashed with the three major sects while at their peak performance, the Red Scarves Alliance might not have been able to gain much of an advantage.
After crossing blades with the three major sects, everyone became aware that their strength was not just for show. The Sword Deviate Sect aside, both the School of Imperial Beasts and the Jade Lady Sect didn't even get to use a single one of their unique skills. It was purely because the Red Scarves Alliance had managed to catch them unprepared that they were able to launch a preemptive strike and triumph against them. Otherwise, if they'd waited for the School of Imperial Beasts to summon those nasty creatures of theirs, the Red Scarves Alliance would have found themselves in a tight spot.
Miao Yi scanned the topology around the area before he pointed down and said, "The other party outnumbers us heavily. We won't be able to win. We need to make use of the height advantage here. If they're really plotting something against us, we shall trigger an avalanche. With the avalanche behind us, we will rush down at full speed. Stop for nothing and don't engage in battle with anyone. Just kill as many as you can."
He raised his hand and pointed to a mound at the foot of the mountain. "Focus on charging down. Once we're at the foot of the mountain, we shall regroup at that spot. If the other party suffers heavy losses, we shall strike back in full force and kill them all. The rewards from that will surely be bountiful. If we can't deal a mighty blow to the other party, we will circle around the foot of the mountain and ascend from a different location. By then, I believe they'll have to think twice if they wish to continue chasing after us. Unless they wish to experience a second avalanche."
As the three of them listened, they looked around at the pockets of ice and snow that had built up over countless years and couldn't help but feel a foreboding chill. If they really triggered an avalanche, then the sheer might of it would be akin to ten thousand volts of lightning. If they charged down with such a terrifying force behind them, how many of those down below would be able to withstand it? They would surely perish with a single stroke.
The only problem was that even their own troops would have to avoid being crushed under the avalanche while they were running away. If they were any slower, the massive force of the avalanche would definitely squash them all. This was nothing short of fighting while putting their lives on the line.
But then again, this was a great move. The people down below numbered almost a thousand, whereas they were only four hundred. If they didn't use the terrain to their advantage, they wouldn't be able to win.
The three of them were thoroughly impressed by Miao Yi, but at the same time, they concluded that this Alliance Master of theirs was a ruthless man. In order to win, he was not only ruthless to the enemy, but to his own forces as well. It was reassuring to follow behind someone like this, but they just didn't know whether this would end up a blessing or a curse.
"Those afraid to battle and only know how to hide in the backlines will naturally be the first to die to the avalanche. If you charge ahead with courage, then with the dragon steeds' speed as well as the downward momentum, it should be possible to outrun the avalanche. Go and make the arrangements! Execute those who don't comply!" Miao Yi seemed to have guessed everyone's doubts, but he was intent on following through with his plan; he'd issued the command in an irrefutable tone.
The three acknowledged his orders and quickly made the necessary arrangements as Miao Yi instructed.
As the troops got into their positions, all of them looked at Miao Yi like he was some kind of monster. After all, he was gambling with their lives! And at the same time, they were in awe. This Alliance Master was a ruthless man who should never be offended.
As he watched the troops ready themselves, Miao Yi suddenly turned around to Qi Xiuhong, who'd been behind him this whole time, and said, "Don't panic later on. Just follow closely behind me, and you'll be fine."
"Understood!" Qi Xiuhong nodded. She felt conflicted as she gazed at Miao Yi's back. 'This Alliance Master is a very decisive person. He truly is someone who will kill another without hesitation.'
As soon as their group finished preparations and assembled into formation, with their riders ready to charge down at a moment's notice, the troops situated a few hundred meters away seemed to have noticed that something was amiss. They all stopped and stared at the forces above them. They tried not to show any signs of hostility, as though afraid to cause a misunderstanding.
Miao Yi creased his eyebrows, unsure of what the other party was plotting. He turned his head and said, "Sikong Wuwei. Bring a couple of people with you to go and ask what's going on. If you notice anything wrong, send us a signal immediately. We will rush down straight away and save you."
He already had a Second Grade Mountain Cleaving Talisman in his hands. If they were to bump into a strong opponent later, he would immediately use it to cut open a path.
Everyone tensed up at his words.
"You, you, and you. Follow me!" With his long axe raised, Sikong Wuwei called out a few people, then galloped downwards.
The forces at the top were ready. At the bottom, Sikong Wuwei had brought several people with him and met up with the forces down below. After a short discussion, it didn't seem like they were hostile. Then, Sikong Wuwei brought a few people back with him.
Once they were only a hundred meters away, Sikong Wuwei had them stop and ordered the others to keep an eye on them. Then, he came back alone to report his findings.
"Alliance Master. They said they wish to submit to our Red Scarves Alliance. I'm afraid they might be lying. For now, I've brought a few of them over. Do you wish to talk to them or kill them?"
Everyone immediately exchanged glances. 'The disciples of those large sects have always treated everyone else with contempt just because they had the backing of a school. But now they wish to submit to our Red Scarves Alliance?'
Miao Yi mulled it over for a while, then nodded, "It is naturally a good thing that they're willing to submit to us. Let those people come over."
"Hold on!" Wang Yuetian called for Sikong Wuwei to stop. Then, he cupped his fists towards Miao Yi. "Alliance Master. Disciples from a school will always form groups of their own. If anything happens, the first thing they'll do is group together amongst themselves. If they join our Red Scarves Alliance, I fear that they will try to wrest control over our forces. This will not be to our benefit."