Even though Ba Wenjing was a person of outstanding talent among his peers in the Azure Sea Sect and possessed a bright future, it was something that mattered only to the Azure Sea Sect. Outside of their group, no one would care who he was. This was especially true in the Sea of Constellations. Who even knew who this Ba Wenjing character was? Naturally, no one felt concerned whether he lived or died. They only cared about what he left behind after he perished.
The Spirit Illusion Greatsword had already fallen into Zhao Lingtu's hands. Everything else that Ba Wenjing had stolen in the Western Star Sea over the past few years—golden bangles, Inner Cores, Orbs of Will, transcendent artifacts and the like—were naturally divided among Miao Yi and the rest. No one pitied him. They would only resent him for not leaving enough valuables after he died.
Just as everyone was happily splitting the loot, a rider approached from afar.
A scout came and dismounted from his dragon steed, then reported, "Alliance Master. The Sword Deviate Sect, Jade Lady Sect, and the School of Imperial Beasts are approaching us from the sea as we speak."
Everyone's gazes almost instantly fell on Miao Yi as soon they heard what the scout had said. When they had just disembarked from their fleet several years ago, Miao Yi was the one who'd almost massacred everyone from the three major sects. Now, his nemeses were almost upon him.
Miao Yi's brows creased as he asked, "Are you sure they belong to the three major sects?"
The scout replied, "Based on their attire, there should be no mistaking it."
The participants from the Fifth Earthly Branch had all arrived on the same fleet of ships and had seen the uniforms of the three major sects. Since he had put it that way, there was definitely no mistaking it then.
Miao Yi asked, "How many of them are there?"
The scout replied, "There are about a dozen wooden rafts in total. I've tallied the numbers from afar, and I speculate that there are about fifty of them."
Miao Yi asked in a somber tone, "Why would the three major sects show up together?"
Back when they had just disembarked, the three major sects had only banded together because they'd all run afoul of Miao Yi, thereby making him their common enemy. Miao Yi was a little puzzled as to why they could still work together even now.
Based on their numbers, he speculated that the group should comprise of those that managed to escape the culling during the disembarking of participants, as well as the disciples formally sent over by their respective sects. Otherwise, it was impossible to have so many of them, since most participants should be based within the administration. There would always be a limit on the number of participants.
The scout replied, "I don't know the reason."
Miao Yi could only concede. The scouts stationed around the island were only there to ward against an enemy ambush and would report to him as soon as they discovered any incoming hostile forces. They wouldn't have much information.
"I can't believe they're coming here too." Beside Miao Yi, Zhao Lingtu creased his brows and muttered to himself. He continued, "I might have an idea as to why they're together."
Miao Yi turned around and asked, "What do you mean?"
"The disembarkation point of the Fifth Earthly Branch's forces were situated next to that of the Yao Nation's forces. One time, we came across a large army of Yao cultivators. Back then, my Junior Brothers and I fought against them alongside the three major sects, and thus we stayed together for a little over a month. On one occasion, a Sword Deviate Sect disciple told me that before their arrival to the Sea of Constellations, the Overlord had summoned all three Sect Masters of the three major sects. It was easy to imagine how fierce the competition must be for the forces of all seventy-two Earthly Branches across the six nations to place within the top one hundred. What the Overlord was trying to tell them was that he didn't wish to see the names of the Fifth Earthly Branch's participants missing from the top one hundred once the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade was over. He wanted the three major sects to fulfill their responsibilities and live up to their names. I suspect this is why the three major sects are working together."
Zhao Lingtu was observing Miao Yi's reaction as he spoke. He hadn't known of the grievances between Miao Yi and the three major sects before this and had only found out about it after arriving here and hearing it from Lu Siping. Now that the elites sent over by the three major sects to participate in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade were upon them, he wanted to see whether or not Miao Yi was afraid.
On the other hand, Miao Yi was quiet as he went into deep thought. From Zhao Lingtu's words, he remembered the gentle reminder that Wu Menglan had given him back when he'd just disembarked. She had told him that the true experts of the three major sects were not among those in the administration. The three major sects had to answer to the Overlord. This was in accordance to Zhao Lingtu's information.
At the time, he hadn't thought much of it. The Western Star Sea was incredibly vast, and with 180,000 participants, he believed he wouldn't be so unfortunate as to bump into them. Not to mention, he'd been looking for a place to hide at the time. As long as he could hide until the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade ended and make it back alive, the forces of the three major sects wouldn't dare act rashly towards someone belonging to the administration, regardless of how powerful they were.
Little did Miao Yi expect that he'd be unable to hide it out and would still end up bumping into them. Since they were about to cross paths, Miao Yi obviously had to find out his opponents' strengths and weaknesses, so he asked, "Brother Zhao. What do you make of the strength of the three major sects? Can our forces contend against them?"
Zhao Lingtu shook his head and said bluntly, "We won't! The number one disciple sent over by the Sword Deviate Sect is called Gu Sanzheng. He is a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade expert and is seemingly the youngest and most talented out of them all. He wields the 'Thunderclap Sword Furnace' bestowed upon him by the sect. Within the furnace lies a hundred and one Thunderclap Flying Swords. I saw him use it against the Yao cultivators once. The swords shot out like lightning, slicing through normal Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts like a knife through butter, and easily piercing through Second Grade Armor Artifacts. In the blink of an eye, he butchered over two hundred Yao cultivators as easily as tearing away a withered stump; none managed to survive. Its might was absolutely astonishing. Even if Gu Sanzheng were to come at us alone, I fear not many of us can contend against him."
Everyone sucked in a breath of cold air when they heard his words.
"The number one disciple of the Jade Lady Sect is called Ye Xin. Possessing extraordinary beauty and a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivation, she is also the most talented out of all the Jade Lady Sect disciples. She wields the 'Ruyi Whip' bestowed upon her by her sect. Next, the number one disciple of the School of Imperial Beasts is called Tan Lao. He is also a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade expert and is similar in status to the other two within his own sect. He equipped himself with an array of peculiar items. Furthermore, all three of them do not ride on dragon steeds, but instead on 'Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts', which are bred by the School of Imperial Beasts. Rumors say that if there were no limitations on flying mounts in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade, the Sword Deviate Sect and the Jade Lady Sect had even planned to borrow spiritual beasts from the School of Imperial Beasts. Alliance Master, now that these three forces are joining hands, we won't be able to withstand them at all with just our forces alone!"
'Goddamnit…' Miao Yi cursed inwardly. If he were to bump into them later on, how could he possibly survive?
"Our Red Scarves Alliance holds the advantage in terms of location. If we trigger the floods, will we be able to deal a heavy blow to their forces?" Miao Yi asked.
"It might work against any other opponent. But since the School of Imperial Beasts is among their forces as well, I fear it will inevitably fail."
"Why is that so?"
Everyone followed Zhao Lingtu's gaze as he suddenly looked upwards and saw several rainbow-colored birds circling above them. Miao Yi and the rest had never seen these types of creatures before in the years they lived here.
"The School of Imperial Beasts''Seeker Birds' are already here to scout for them. The School of Imperial Beasts will be able to see our every move. Do you think they will fall for our trap, Alliance Master?" Zhao Lingtu asked.
Beside him, Sikong Wuwei was outraged, "We can't do this, we can't do that. Don't tell me you want us to sit and wait for death to come?"
Miao Yi said somberly, "Since that's the case, we mustn't stay here any longer. I suggest we gather our troops and leave. It'll save us a lot…" He suddenly glanced at the smile on Zhao Lingtu's face. His expression held no trace of anxiety at all. Miao Yi couldn't help asking, "Does Brother Zhao have a better plan to deal with them?"
Zhao Lingtu chuckled, "Perhaps Alliance Master is unaware, but I know a thing or two about them from the time we stayed together. As long as we don't offend them, the three major sects will not harm our Fifth Earthly Branch's forces. Let me reiterate my point. As the Fifth Earthly Branch's Overlord has given his orders, they have to fulfill their responsibilities as the three major sects. If they really were to eliminate all of the participants from the Fifth Earthly Branch and unwittingly feed the arrogance of the other Earthly Branches, I am willing to bet that they will have a hard time answering to the Overlord afterwards. That is why we should be fine. However, I have heard that the Alliance Master bears a deep grievance with the three major sects, so I cannot guarantee that they will let you go!"
'As if they will let me go!' Miao Yi glanced at the crowd and noticed that everyone was looking at him strangely.
Miao Yi understood in an instant. Since they knew they were no match for the three major sects, it would be impossible for him to have them risk their lives and help him settle his personal vendetta.
"It has been my honor to share life and death with all of you for the past three years. My grievance with the three major sects is mine alone. I will not drag you all into it." Miao Yi scanned the crowd and said, "I trust everyone understands the situation we're in. The best thing I can do is leave! I just wish to say one thing—Is there anyone who wishes to follow me and fulfill our promise of sharing life and death for nine years?"
The whole place was quiet. No one said a peep. Only Qi Xiuhong quietly brought her mount to stand behind him.
Miao Yi turned to look at her and smiled. He had thought she wouldn't leave with him because she'd always kept her distance from him.
"Haha! I have long been bored of this stupid island. Why not go for an adventure?" Sikong Wuwei revealed a nonchalant smile and brought his mount to stand behind Miao Yi as well.
Zhao Fei seemed to ponder over something. His brows creased as he turned to look at the crowd. He didn't say a word as he slowly brought his steed behind Miao Yi as well. His stance on the matter was clear.
Wang Yuetian's eyes brightened as he plainly said, "Count me in too?" He then urged his steed behind Miao Yi.
Zhao Lingtu was confused as he never expected for three Blue Lotus Ninth Grade experts to still be willing to follow Miao Yi. The circumstances were obvious. If they followed Miao Yi, they would fall under the three major sects' hitlist as well.
When he heard the three major sects were coming, Zhao Lingtu revealed the truth so that everyone would be too afraid to help Miao Yi, and Lu Siping wouldn't need to spend time to pull them together secretly. That way it would be easier for him to steal the artifact. Most importantly, once the three major sects were here, they wouldn't spare Zhao Lingtu the time to slowly look for the artifact before exacting their revenge on Miao Yi. That said, he was still puzzled as to why Sikong Wuwei and the others had chosen to take Miao Yi's side.
Granted, only four people were willing to follow Miao Yi. The rest of them kept quiet. Zhao Lingtu looked to his sides and felt reassured.
'So this is the Red Scarves Alliance that I created!' Miao Yi swept his gaze across the crowd and chuckled. He could understand everyone's feelings. Sucking in a breath of air and repressing the conflicting emotions inside him, he cupped his fists towards the crowd, "Take care, everyone. I shall hereby bid you all farewell!"
He was about to lead his group away when Zhao Lingtu suddenly said, "Wait!"
Miao Yi stopped and asked, "Does Brother Zhao still have something to say?" His eyes quickly shrank in surprise when he saw Zhao Lingtu abruptly readying his black hammer.
Sikong Wuwei and the others instantly tensed up as they cautiously watched Zhao Lingtu's every move.
Zhao Lingtu smiled, "Since the Alliance Master wishes to leave, we won't stop you. We don't wish to do something so heartless either. However, even though the three major sects won't harm us, the other forces might not be as merciful. It seems a little irresponsible for you to leave us just like that, Alliance Master. Don't you think you should leave us a little something to protect ourselves?"
Miao Yi asked slowly, "What is it you want?"
"I think that the Alliance Master should leave the Mystic Yin Mirror behind! If you are still in the Red Scarves Alliance, then we won't have any objections since that transcendent artifact will be able to serve its purpose for the benefit of the alliance. However, things are different now that you're leaving. After all, everyone did put in their fair share to obtain that transcendent artifact. Many of our brothers even died for it. Don't you think it's a little irresponsible for you to take away the Mystic Yin Mirror and leave us to our fates just like that, Alliance Master?" Zhao Lingtu asked.