He wanted them all to fight as soon as they joined. They all felt quite conflicted.
Even though the Alliance Master was beating around the bush, his words couldn't have been any clearer—since those three hundred were unwilling to join the Red Scarves Alliance, it meant that they were enemies and must be eliminated. Furthermore, if Lu Siping and the rest didn't go and deal with those people, it would prove that they were insincere in in their wish to join the Red Scarves Alliance. Then, they would also be branded as enemies of the Red Scarves Alliance. From the looks of things, it was unlikely that they would be able to leave unscathed if they declined the Alliance Master's request.
Zhao Fei and the rest exchanged glances and kept quiet. The Alliance Master had a better grasp of the situation than they did, and didn't need them to chime in.
Amidst the falling snow, all four hundred troops of the Red Scarves Alliance suddenly turned eerily quiet. Their doubts were instantly dispelled by Miao Yi's words. They kept a watchful gaze on Lu Siping and the rest. So long as Miao Yi said the word, they would immediately pounce on them without hesitation.
"Right now, they will not be on guard against you. Use the element of surprise and your superior numbers to deal them a swift and lethal strike. You will definitely be able to triumph over them in a single stroke. I dare say there is hardly any difficulty in that." With an indifferent expression, Miao Yi then reminded them, "If all of you are unwilling to even do such a simple task, how can I believe that you all are sincere in joining my Red Scarves Alliance? How will I be able to trust that you will follow my orders once you join?"
He had already made it very clear—'That's right! I want you all to submit a mark of fealty!'
After Lu Siping and the rest had a short discussion among themselves, they came to agree that the task indeed wasn't very difficult, as Miao Yi said. Even if they fought with them head-on, they wouldn't at a disadvantage either, much less with a sudden ambush.
After they all came to an agreement, they cupped their fists and said, "We acknowledge the Alliance Master's orders."
Miao Yi looked down towards Yan Baichuan and the others who had already returned to their own forces, then said, "Time is of the essence. Don't let them escape."
Lu Siping and the rest immediately descended the mountain. By the time they caught up, Yan Baichuan and the rest had already explained the situation to their fellow disciples and were about to leave.
As he watched the situation unfold down below, Miao Yi issued a command, "Follow our original plan and prepare to trigger the avalanche. If Lu Siping and the others will not make their move, we will eliminate them as well in one fell swoop!"
Behind him, Qi Xiuhong trembled slightly when she heard this.
"Understood!" For the first time, Zhao Fei and the rest cupped their fists and acknowledged the order wholeheartedly. They had come to understand that Miao Yi's every action was truly for the sake of everyone in the Red Scarves Alliance. Now, they were truly ready to serve.
After becoming more earnest in following Miao Yi's commands, the speed at which Zhao Fei and the rest made their preparations was significantly faster as well.
Down the mountain, Yan Baichuan and the rest had just led their troops a short distance away when they heard a commotion coming from behind them. When they turned to look, they saw Lu Siping and the rest leading their troops down at a moderate pace as well. Yan Baichuan couldn't help shouting, "Brother Lu. Didn't you all agree to the terms of the Red Scarves Alliance? Why have you returned?"
"The Red Scarves Alliance comes with too many restrictions. It is too unbearable. We might as well look to other alternatives." Lu Siping replied.
Yan Baichuan had everyone come to a stop with a wave of his hand. Together with ten other representatives from the various sects, he turned back and began approaching Lu Siping's group. "That little rascal is clearly trying to make things difficult for us, Brother Lu. We just had a short discussion earlier. Why must we heed another's commands? Why can't we just form an alliance of our own?"
With a raise of Lu Siping's hand, the people behind him came to a stop as well. Slightly amused, he asked, "Might I ask who would give the orders then, once the alliance is formed?"
Yan Baichuan immediately replied in earnest, "We can slowly come to an agreement on that. If everyone doesn't mind, I am willing to take up the mantle and work for the benefit of everyone."
'Working for the benefit of everyone is a lie. The truth is you just want to be the alliance master,' thought Lu Siping, but just gave a nod and said, "I doubt we will be able to come to an agreement no matter how much we discuss. I don't have anything against Brother Yan becoming the alliance master. But let me ask you this—if we were to suffer an enemy attack, would Brother Yan be willing to let the disciples from the Sect of the Three Founders be at the head of the charge?"
After he said those words, one of the disciples from the Sect of the Three Founders behind Yan Baichuan already began shouting, "The alliance master himself belongs to the Sect of the Three Founders. To have him command his fellow disciples to take the front charge—what logic is this? Of course everyone has to follow the orders of the alliance master."
Yan Baichuan turned around and glared at that disciple, indicating that he should keep his mouth shut. Turning back, he smiled and said, "Brother Lu. Rest assured, I will not let any of the sects suffer like that. I definitely won't dictate the decisions on my own. When the time comes, we can all reach a consensus together."
"You want to discuss when the enemy is already upon us? I fear it will be too late by the time we come to a consensus, if any at all. Our forces would already be engulfed in chaos before we could even get to an agreement on anything. How can we survive in the Sea of Constellations like that?" Lu Siping mocked.
Slightly displeased, Yan Baichuan said, "If Brother Lu has a better idea, then do share with us."
"As a matter of fact, I do. It's to kill you!" With a sudden shout, Lu Siping suddenly thrusted with his spear.
As though it was a signal for the attack, the moment he struck, six hundred troops behind him immediately charged down. Using the height to their advantage, they rushed down and instantly engaged in a chaotic melee.
Yan Baichuan reacted quickly and managed to defend himself just in time, blocking Lu Siping's thrust before launching a swift counterattack of his own. As both sides engaged in fierce combat, Yan Baichuan bellowed, "Lu Siping! You and I have no ill-will between us. I even courteously extended my hand to you. Why did you choose to launch an ambush against me?!"
"By my Alliance Master's orders, I am here to kill the enemy!" Lu Siping bluntly replied with the truth, his barrage continued without letting up. Soon, another Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator, Yu Baixing, joined the fray and both of them started to corner Yan Baichuan.
Whilst anxiously defending himself, Yan Baichuan repeatedly cursed, "Bastards! How dare you set me up!?"
Meanwhile, Jia Zifeng and Fei De-an had already taken down another Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator in mere moments with the help of two other Blue Lotus Eighth Grade cultivators from their respective sects.
As soon as they finished, both parties nodded at one another. Fei De-an led one of his fellow disciples over to Lu Siping and Yu Baixing's side, while Jia Zifeng and one of his fellow disciples rushed to Dong Quan and Hu Zhiyuan's side, where they were battling another Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator.
How could Yan Baichuan defend against the joint attack from three Blue Lotus Ninth Grade experts and one Blue Lotus Eighth Grade expert. He couldn't even run away. His armor artifact flashed with blue light as it endured blow after blow for him. Then, his dragon steed neighed in agony as it collapsed.
Just as Yan Baichuan wanted to leap up, Lu Siping pierced his thigh with his spear and pinned him down.
"Bastard-" Yan Baichuan was cursing when he was suddenly interrupted by the dimming blue light of his armor artifact after enduring countless attacks, and his head being abruptly chopped off.
Once they were done, they all immediately looked towards Jia Zifeng's battle only to find that it was already over. The other party had already charged into the surrounding melee. They quickly followed suit, taking lives wherever they went; their killing potential was no joke.
With Yan Baichuan and the other experts gone, there was no one who could keep these superior fighters at bay. Like wolves diving into a pack of sheep, Lu Siping and the rest charged into the fray. It was easy to imagine what would happen when six Blue Lotus Ninth Grade experts went into an all-out offensive. The only things that could be heard were the agonized screams of the enemy.
Standing in the blistering wind and snow, Miao Yi and the rest looked on coldly as the battle unfolded. The one-sided fight didn't last very long.
Lu Siping and the rest even went so far as to personally chase after the remnants that managed to escape and put an end to them. As the final screams died and gave way to the stillness of night, Lu Siping and the rest returned and immediately began cleaning up the battlefield.
After retrieving the spoils of war, Lu Siping and the rest came back up the mountain and stopped several dozen meters away from Miao Yi and his forces.
Lu Siping and the rest dismounted from their steeds and carried a large bag over, revealing a large pile of storage rings inside as they offered it up to Miao Yi. "There are no survivors. We have accomplished our mission!"
"Good!" Miao Yi received the bag and tossed it over to Qi Xiuhong. Then, he turned to Zhao Fei and the rest. "The sects have already shown their sincerity. They wish to partake in our fates for the next nine years. What say you?"
Lu Siping and the rest raised their heads to the crowd. They finally understood that the reason Miao Yi wanted them to submit a mark of fealty was so that he could convince the rest.
Zhao Fei and the rest cupped their fists, "We acknowledge the Alliance Master's command!"
Miao Yi immediately turned back to Lu Siping and ordered him to list down all the surviving members of each sect. Then, he commanded the other representatives to tally their forces. There were over fifty casualties in this battle. As Miao Yi read through each jade archive delivered to him, he concluded that the number of troops had decreased from almost seven hundred, to around six hundred and twenty people.
Everything was quiet under the wind and snow. Miao Yi turned to everyone and tallied together the list of names of these six hundred new members and the original four hundred. He raised his head and said, "We cannot operate as a headless snake. A disorderly organization will only invite ruin in the Sea of Constellations. Dong Quan!"
"Present!" Dong Quan stepped forward.
"By my decree, you shall be the Captain of the Red Scarves Alliance's First Division!" Miao Yi issued his first command as the Alliance Master of the Red Scarves Alliance.
"Dong Quan acknowledges!"
"Those whose names I call out shall be members of the First Division from now on. You will heed Captain Dong's commands!" Miao Yi then quickly listed out one hundred and fifty names. There were both sect members as well as the original members of the Red Scarves Alliance. Those who were called out then gathered behind Dong Quan.
Dong Quan was ecstatic. This was a much larger force than that of his own sect.
"From now on, you will be the Captain of the Second Division!"
Everyone was divided into their own groups in quick succession. Dong Quan became the First Division Captain, Wang Yuetian the Second Division Captain, Hu Zhiyuan the Third Division Captain, Jia Zifeng the Fourth Division Captain, Fei De-an the Fifth Division Captain and lastly, Yu Baixing the Sixth Division Captain. Each of the six Blue Lotus Ninth Grade Captains commanded a force of a hundred and fifty people.
As for the remaining one hundred and thirty people, they became the Red Scarves Alliance's Enforcer Division because their cultivations were rather high. They were personally led by Miao Yi, and managed by the three Blue Lotus Ninth Grade experts Zhao Fei, Sikong Wuwei and Lu Siping. The three of them were dubbed the Elder Enforcers and became Miao Yi's trusted aides.
Qi Xiuhong was not bequeathed with any title. Needless to say, her cultivation was much too low to survive in the Sea of Constellations. She already considered herself fortunate that Miao Yi was willing to let her stay, and was satisfied with just doing menial chores for him.
Miao Yi then ordered each Captain to divide their own troops into ten subdivisions and allowed them to choose a suitable leader for each of them. He didn't interfere with their choices and instead, spent time tallying the rewards from the previous two battles with Zhao Fei and the others.
The Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade heavily emphasized the importance of the golden bangle on everyone's wrists; it was the whole purpose of the Subjugation Crusade. After tallying everything, the total number of golden bangles came up to almost seven hundred. There couldn't be so many from just the enemy numbers. Clearly, they retrieved some of the golden bangles from their dead allies as well. This was inevitable. They couldn't just leave them be.
Miao Yi didn't take more for himself as a sign of equality and took the same amount as the other Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivators such as Zhao Fei and the rest. Each of them kept ten for themselves. Since even the Alliance Master himself took so little, Zhao Fei and the rest wouldn't have any reason to complain. With approximately five hundred pieces remaining, there wouldn't be enough to distribute equally to the other one thousand members either. As such, one was given to each member of the Enforcer Division, and the rest were handed to the six Division Captains to be rewarded to their members for their deeds.
In contrast, there was a surplus of transcendent artifacts. Just Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts alone exceeded an amount of one hundred and seventy. The amount of First Grade Transcendent Artifacts were even more staggering in amount, exceeding the number of fatalities to reach an approximate total of eight hundred pieces. Needless to say, Miao Yi and the nine Blue Lotus Ninth Grade experts first picked out a few outstanding pieces among the Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts for themselves. It wouldn't be wise to take too many. The rest were given to the Enforcer Division to be rewarded to their members according to their performance.
Sikong Wuwei couldn't stop grinning. Normally, it was hard enough to find a Second Grade Transcendent Artifact, but in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade, with all these cultivators throwing all their fortune on treasures to increase their chances of survival, there was bound to be a whole lot of the good stuff.
"I say, Alliance Master, our forces are strong and mighty. We should just stop hiding and focus on looting the other forces within the Sea of Constellations. Once we survive the Subjugation Crusade, we can bring home a pile of treasures to sell to the Chamber of Commerce. When the time comes, what couldn't we possibly buy?" said Sikong Wuwei with a chuckle.