Wang Yuetian took out several wine cups as he spoke, and was about to open the flask of wine.
Miao Yi raised his hand and stopped him, "Since it's fine wine, how can we just share it between ourselves? Why not wait for Zhao Fei and Sikong to come back and try it together?"
"They just left, and I don't know when they'll return. You and I can start drinking first. Don't worry about it; I've prepared more just for them." Wang Yuetian opened the seal and lifted the flask over two jade cups, pouring a transparent liquid into them as an inviting aroma spread through the air.
Miao Yi's eyes narrowed slightly as he silently stared at the clear liquid in the cup.
Placing the wine flask aside, Wang Yuetian extended his hand and said, "Go on, have a taste." Then he raised his cup, lifted his head and drank it all up. He wiped his mouth with his sleeves and placed his cup down when he saw Miao Yi had yet to drink. He asked curiously, "Does Brother Miao think my wine isn't good enough?"
"How would I know whether it's good or not if I haven't even drunk it yet?" Miao Yi smiled and raised his cup. His hand briefly came to a stop before his lips, but he eventually gulped it all down. He placed the cup down and wiped his lips, nodding as he praised, "What a great wine indeed!"
His words were not completely true. Even though this wine wasn't bad, it couldn't compare to the pile of bejeweled nectar he'd sold to the Celestial Nation Chamber of Commerce.
"Then drink some more! We shall drink while we wait for the other two to return." Wang Yuetian was smiling brightly. This time, he didn't pour the wine. Instead, he invoked his arts and made two crystalline rivers of wine flow out from the flask and into the jade cups.
Then he raised his cup and finished it all in a single gulp again.
On the other hand, Miao Yi was in no rush to drink. He smiled and asked, "Brother Wang. I don't think you're here just to share some wine with me. Do you have something you wish to say?"
"Ai!" Wang Yuetian shook his head and smiled bitterly. "I'm just trying to drown my sorrows with alcohol. I don't know if any of us will be able to make it out of the Sea of Constellations in one piece."
He refilled his cup and raised it to Miao Yi as he said, "Let's not talk about such depressing matters and get drunk while we still can. Cheers!"
Miao Yi raised his cup and bumped it with Wang Yuetian's before taking another sip. He placed the jade cup down and said, "Brother Wang. You don't have to be so pessimistic. At the moment, we have three top-tier Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts in our hands. We might just be able to make it out of the Sea of Constellations alive."
"In truth, we all know deep down that our hopes are slim. Out of 180,000 cultivators, only one hundred can make it back alive! Will we be so fortunate?"
"As long as we stick together, there is still a chance."
"Let's hope so. Forget it. Drink up!" Wang Yuetian seemed depressed as he refilled both jade cups to the brim once more.
Miao Yi lifted his cup and was about to knock their cups together when his hand suddenly trembled, spilling the alcohol inside. He shook his head and widened his eyes at the empty jade cup in his hand.
Wang Yuetian gasped, "Brother Miao! What's wrong?"
Smack! Miao Yi slammed the jade cup onto the table and shook his head vigorously. He could feel extreme pain from his stomach, like thousands of knives were stabbing it. The pain was so intense that large beads of sweat dripped down from his forehead, and his mind felt unbearably dizzy.
"This wine…" Miao Yi supported himself with both hands on the table and barely managed to get to his feet. His breathing was ragged as he glared at Wang Yuetian and said weakly, "You've poisoned it!"
Wang Yuetian looked at him in surprise. After confirming the symptoms were as he had imagined, the shock on his face slowly receded as he sighed in relief. He placed the jade cup in his hand on the table, then pointed at Miao Yi and said, "Fall!"
'It was him indeed!' With both hands on the table, Miao Yi suddenly lost strength in his body and fell to the ground. His body twisted as he stared at Wang Yuetian slowly standing up and groaned, "Why… did you do this?"
Wang Yuetian revealed a vicious expression and replied, "I had no other choice. You are simply too powerful, capable of killing cultivators of the same level as easily as slicing up vegetables. I'll admit that I'm not your match. Not to mention, you possess three top-tier Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts. If I had to take you down, I needed to use some drastic measures. Before I came to the Sea of Constellations, while everyone else equipped themselves with various transcendent artifacts, I prepared an odorless and colorless poison called the 'Fallen Immortal'. I never thought I would actually get to use it."
Miao Yi's voice quaked as he asked, "You... Zhao Fei… and Sikong Wuwei… are working together?"
"Why would I work together with them? Isn't it better to have three top-tier Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts all to myself? 'We will be able to survive the Sea of Constellations as long as we stick together?' You'll have much better luck fooling a child. The greatest chance anyone has of surviving the Sea of Constellations is by possessing three top-tier Second Grade Transcendent Artifacts! That's the greatest chance any one of us can get to be part of the top one hundred. Otherwise, what chance would any of us have? Why did you think I left the crowd to follow after you? It's because my chance to strike will only come if I stayed beside you and earned your trust! While I'm on the subject, those three transcendent artifacts were destined to be mine from the start. Before this, I had only intended to take away that Mystic Yin Mirror. Little did I expect that you'd kill Zhao Lingtu and take both the Mountain Suppressing Hammer and Spirit Illusion Greatsword as well. This must be fate. Even the heavens are helping me!"
Having revealed his true intentions, Wang Yuetian waved his fists and inched closer to Miao Yi. He said, "Miao Yi, this is a dog-eat-dog world. You can't blame me. Just blame your own ignorance for being too young and trusting!"
With great effort, Miao Yi turned to lie on his stomach and crawled forward. He was apparently trying to escape, although his speed was much too slow.
Wang Yuetian walked towards him and stepped on his back. He didn't need to exert much force, and with a single shove, he stopped Miao Yi dead in his tracks.
He flipped Miao Yi over with his leg and bent down to remove his storage bangle and storage ring. Suddenly, he heard the sound of rushing wind from behind. Wang Yuetian quickly turned his head to find a creepy mantis the size of a crab zooming in on him.
Wang Yuetian felt taken aback. He didn't know where it had popped out from and was about to flick it away. Suddenly, Miao Yi, who he'd just flipped over, took advantage of the moment Wang Yuetian turned his head and brandished a sword artifact from his storage bangle, then swung a cold arc across with his sword.
Splurt! Blood gushed forth as the blade cut Wang Yuetian in half across the waist, his upper body flying off and crashing onto the ground. His eyes widened in disbelief as he watched his lower half fall to the ground. Then he witnessed Miao Yi standing back up like a zombie. He cast an icy gaze towards Wang Yuetian, standing with both hands gripping tightly onto the hilt of the sword as he leaned his stomach against it, the blade stabbing firmly into the ground.
A cluster of mantises the size of crabs landed on Miao Yi's shoulder, crawling down both his arms and into his storage ring. It was a very peculiar sight.
Propping his upper body up with both arms, Wang Yuetian saw his guts spilling onto the floor and the pool of blood underneath. His face was as white as a ghost as he lifted his head to look at Miao Yi, who was visibly sweating. Wang Yuetian's voice trembled as he said, "You weren't poisoned!"
"I was! It was a terrible experience, suffering the effects of the 'Fallen Immortal'. How could I deceive you if I hadn't fallen for it? At least now I know what it's like to suffer from the 'Fallen Immortal'. In the future, I won't have to endure this pain in order to put up a good act."
Wang Yuetian gasped, "You knew all along that I poisoned the wine?"
"I couldn't confirm it. But how could I not take extra precautions given the dangerous situation we're in? I only felt it was a little suspicious. Alas, you can't really expect to take me down simply by using poisoned wine. If that were possible, then I wouldn't have been able to live for as long as I have either."
"You still drank it even though you knew it was suspicious?"
Miao Yi replied indifferently, "Because I wanted to find out if the other two were working together with you. That's why I drank your poisoned wine. Naturally, I had hoped that I was simply overthinking it. However, the fact remains that you were indeed trying to kill me. I trust you won't blame me for killing you in return then."
"Blame you?" Wang Yuetian revealed a smile on his pale face, "I'd like to know—if I'd never made a move against you, can you guarantee that you would've never acted against us until the end of the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade?"
Miao Yi responded with his own question, "There are a hundred open spots. Did you think there wouldn't be enough space for the five of us?"
Wang Yuetian felt incredibly irritated when he heard Miao Yi's response. He screamed, "You're lying! You're lying!"
Slowly regaining the color on his face, Miao Yi maintained a cold expression as he resolutely replied, "After being surrounded by countless betrayals and deceit, how many could remain as honest men? I will not blame another for lying, nor am I afraid of the consequences. However, as a person, one must always have a line that they shouldn't cross. Kindness must be repaid with kindness, and vengeance must similarly be repaid in kind. I will never betray those who have placed their faith in me!"
"I don't believe you! I don't believe you!" Wang Yuetian's expression contorted from the pain, as he shouted hoarsely, "I don't want to listen to your lies. Finish me. Finish me!"
Miao Yi plainly replied, "As long as there are people who believe in me, I will not disappoint them. The pain I endured just now, I will naturally return them all to you. I am not a forgiving man, nor am I able to repay treachery with kindness. I will watch you die slowly!"
Wang Yuetian wouldn't let Miao Yi have his way. He dispersed the final vestiges of his transcendence energy guarding his heart and instantly started bleeding out as he slowly breathed his last.
He then heard the sound of footsteps coming from outside the cave. Qi Xiuhong called out, "The food is ready."
"Come in!" Miao Yi replied coldly.
Qi Xiuhong was carrying a tray full of delicious food and wine when she caught the deep stench of blood the moment she stepped into the cave. She saw Miao Yi covered in dirt as he leaned on a blood-stained sword artifact. Then, she saw Wang Yuetian's miserable state as he lay in a pool of blood. She was instantly bewildered.
Crash! The tray dropped to the ground, spilling the food and wine all over the place. Qi Xiuhong could feel that Miao Yi's murderous aura had yet to dissipate, and her voice trembled as she asked, "What happened?"
With a cold expression on his face, Miao Yi replied, "Go and see if Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei are still bathing in the lake by the mountains. If they are, call them over."
'He wants me to see if a couple of men are still in the middle of their baths?' Qi Xiuhong froze, but when she saw the sight before her, she simply bit her lip and departed. She wondered if Miao Yi intended to kill Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei as well and if he would kill even her in the end?
She departed the fort in a daze. When she saw the two half-naked men in the lake by the mountains, Qi Xiuhong quickly turned her back towards them. Tilting her head slightly, she shouted, "Big Brother Zhao, Big Brother Sikong, please come back!"
After she said this, Qi Xiuhong nervously walked back to the blood-stained room and reported back to Miao Yi.
Miao Yi could do nothing but wait. Soon, Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei returned.
"Why is there a stench of blood coming from inside?" Sikong Wuwei asked curiously.
Both Sikong Wuwei and Zhao Fei were startled when they saw the situation inside the cave. They stared at Wang Yuetian lying lifelessly in a pool of blood, then turned to Miao Yi, who wielded a blood-stained sword in his hands. It was obvious who had killed Wang Yuetian.
The two immediately felt their hair standing on end. Since Miao Yi could kill Wang Yuetian, it meant that he could kill them too. The both of them instantly went on full alert.
"Why did you kill him?" Zhao Fei asked, creasing his brows.
Miao Yi waved his sword and pointed to the wine on the stone table. He said, "He brought a flask of wine just now and invited me for a drink. The taste isn't bad. If the two of you are interested, feel free to take a sip. Then you will naturally find out why I killed him!"
"This…." The two of them felt suspicious of the wine and exchanged glances. Sikong Wuwei cautiously asked, "Is there something in the wine?"