After dismounting from her steed, Qi Xiuhong dug up a wooden raft hidden by the beach and tossed it into the sea. Then, not far away, a rainbow-feathered bird dropped to the ground, its body almost beyond recognition.
Qi Xiuhong recognized it as the Seeker Bird and couldn't help lifting her gaze. She saw two tiny mantids swiftly flying back to the tallest peak on the island.
She gazed longingly at the peak for a moment. Then, she cast aside all her doubts and quickly brought her dragon steed up to the wooden raft. Invoking her arts, she pushed it forwards and swiftly drifted towards the open sea.
Meanwhile at the peak of the mountain, Miao Yi and the other two exchanged glances, then nodded to one another and charged down the mountain together.
They headed towards the direction the enemy was coming from. After swiftly charging past the mountains and forests, they finally came to a stop on a leveled hill. There, they gazed towards the army approaching from the ocean.
When the three could finally clearly make out the crowd, they were shocked. They weren't surprised to see that the forces of the Red Scarves Alliance were among them as well but rather, none of them were riding on dragon steeds, nor were they on wooden rafts. Instead, they were all leaping across the waves, approaching Miao Yi and the others with great speed.
The only benefit of doing this was that it was an incredibly rapid form of travel. Regardless of how fast one pushed a wooden raft with their transcendence energy, it would not be faster than directly stepping on the ocean surface and leaping across the waves.
Why did the enemy do such a thing? It wasn't hard to guess. After realizing the direction Miao Yi and the others had run off to, they obviously wanted to avoid letting them escape again and came over as soon as they could.
Miao Yi and the other two thought that the enemy had abandoned their mounts. With that, even if something were to go wrong, it wouldn't be difficult for them to escape.
However, they were soon caught by surprise as dragon steeds began appearing out of thin air the moment the enemy came ashore. There were also three vicious-looking Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts. The army quickly mounted their dragon steeds and brandished their weapons as they scanned their surroundings.
The three quickly came to understand what just happened. These people had used the beast sacks of the School of Imperial Beasts to store all their mounts.
"Damn it. Why didn't we pick up some beast sacks for ourselves when we killed those School of Imperial Beasts disciples back then?" Sikong Wuwei cursed.
Zhao Fei somberly said, "The reason we didn't take them at the time was because they were full of peculiar insects and beasts inside. We can't control them at all. It would only cause problems for us if we released them. Back then, there were also still plenty of troops keeping a watchful eye on us. Who would have the patience to slowly sort those things out then?"
Miao Yi eyed the three people at the fore. They were two men and one woman, each riding a beast covered in crystalline armor. Even the surrounding dragon steeds had backed away, obviously fearful of these three beasts.
Needless to say, Miao Yi guessed that these three were probably the number one disciples sent over by the three major sects!
The army noticed the three figures quietly standing atop the hill as well. The original members of the Red Scarves Alliance had mixed feelings when they saw Miao Yi and the others. It had only been a few days. The head of the Red Scarves Alliance had now become the target they needed to eliminate.
Even though Gu Sanzheng and the other two never met Miao Yi before, they could tell that the person seated on the dragon steed in the center was their primary target upon first glance.
It was because Miao Yi seemed to be the youngest out of the three; Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei clearly looked much older. Not to mention, Miao Yi's mount was the only one known to be equipped with battle armor. Gu Sanzheng and the other two had heard their fellow disciples describing him before, so it was easy for them to recognize him.
However, just to be safe, Gu Sanzheng tilted his head slightly and asked, "Su Jinggong. Is Miao Yi the man in the center?"
Su Jinggong ground his teeth in hatred and shouted, "It's definitely that little rascal!"
"A valiant and heroic bearing. He truly commands an extraordinary presence!" Gu Sanzheng simply remarked.
Peering about his surroundings, Tan Lao glumly said, "He is quite exceptional indeed. Be careful, everyone. I've lost the psychic connection with all three of the Seeker Birds I brought with me. I believe they have been eliminated. I wonder how these people managed to do it?"
Gu Sanzheng and Ye Xin threw him a look, feeling a little puzzled as well. The Seeker Bird was a very agile and sensitive creature, possessing an incredible flight speed. If it sensed anything wrong, it would immediately ascend high into the sky. Not even Gu Sanzheng and Ye Xin could do anything to it at those heights. Yet now all three of them had been eliminated?
Even though there were only three tiny Seeker Birds, they were exceptionally useful in the Sea of Constellations. With the Seeker Birds being their eyes and ears, the three major sects would know immediately whether there were enemies or ambushes on the road ahead.
Now that the three Seeker Birds were gone, their 'eyes in the sky' were obviously destroyed. This would likely cause quite a bit of trouble for them on the road ahead in the Sea of Constellations. Even Gu Sanzheng and Ye Xin felt a pang in their hearts, let alone Tan Lao with his already darkened expression.
The last few days had been rough for those Seeker Birds. When Miao Yi and the others escaped from the island where they had hidden themselves for the past few years, they suddenly changed their route just to be safe, causing their pursuers to continue southwards on a wild goose chase. In the end, not only did they fail to catch up to Miao Yi and his group, they bumped into a group of Yao cultivators on one island, and a group of monks on another, resulting in a vicious clash on both occasions.
As they proceeded southwards without catching sight of Miao Yi and his group even once, Gu Sanzheng and the rest guessed that they had probably gone off in the wrong direction. Otherwise, they should have caught up with them a long time ago, given that Miao Yi and his party couldn't possibly travel faster than the Seeker Birds on the ocean.
As a result, the Seeker Birds were then ordered to return and search every single island in the immediate vicinity. The Seeker Birds had searched tirelessly for days on end, and when they finally discovered Miao Yi and his group, they immediately died to his tiny mantids. It was truly pitiful.
Both parties maintained a distance of about a thousand meters away from one another, with each side keeping a close eye on the other with their transcendence vision. Neither group made any sudden movements and continued to keep each other a safe distance away.
Miao Yi and the other two were unsure of how powerful Gu Sanzheng and his group were, whereas the latter had heard of the might of the Mystic Yin Mirror belonging to the former. Gu Sanzheng and his group knew that the Mystic Yin Mirror was immensely powerful against large groups. Once they entered its attack range, their transcendence artifacts might not be able to contend against it. Not to mention, the Seeker Birds had perished for reasons unknown to them, so they were a little apprehensive.
Eventually, Sikong Wuwei couldn't hold it in anymore. He pointed his long axe to the enemy and said with a hoarse bellow, "You aren't coming to fight, and you aren't retreating away. What is it you all are trying to do?!"
On the other end, Gu Sanzheng completely ignored him. He gave a reply, albeit directed at Miao Yi instead, "Miao Yi. Have you ever thought this day would come when you killed the disciples of my three major sects?!"
As though in response to how Gu Sanzheng had ignored Sikong Wuwei, Miao Yi directed his reply towards Dong Quan and the rest, "Dong Quan! I had spared all of you out of consideration for the time we spent together. How dare you all follow behind these bastards now?! Do you really think I won't dare to take your heads?!"
Sikong Wuwei couldn't help glancing at Miao Yi as he praised inwardly, 'You're really a good brother!'
Dong Quan guffawed, "Miao Yi, you fraud! You're just a mere Mountain Chieftain with a White Lotus cultivation. You really fooled us all back then, calling yourself a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator and stealing the three transcendent artifacts belonging to our Red Scarves Alliance. We haven't even settled our score with you yet. How dare you act so impudent? Zhao Fei. Sikong Wuwei. I suggest the both of you don't fall for his lies anymore. As long as the two of you dismount and surrender, out of consideration for our past relationship as fellow alliance members, I can plead to Alliance Master Gu for the two of you to be spared. Stop refusing to realize your own mistakes!"
Su Jinggong showed himself from behind Gu Sanzheng, and pointed to Miao Yi, shouting, "Miao Yi, you little rascal. How dare you tamper with our mounts back on the ship. Today is the day of your reckoning!"
Miao Yi was speechless. He laughed bitterly to himself. He never expected this bastard to be here too. No wonder his secret was exposed.
Looking to his side, he saw that Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei were looking at him, utterly confused.
Sikong Wuwei cautiously asked, "Miao Yi. Your cultivation is only at the White Lotus realm?" It seemed like he found it a little hard to believe as well, thinking that the enemy was intentionally trying to sow discord between them.
Miao Yi nodded, no longer hiding his secret from them. He couldn't keep it secret anyway at this point.
"..." Sikong Wuwei was speechless.
Zhao Fei gave a dry cough and asked, "Didn't you say you were a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator? And the Manor Head of Changfeng Manor?"
"I don't know whether a Changfeng Manor actually exists or not, but I do know where Changfeng City is!" Miao Yi raised his hand and rubbed his forehead, invoking his arts to wipe off the Soul Concealing Paste hiding the mark of his cultivation. A White Lotus Seventh Grade mark shone between his brows.
"You…" Sikong Wuwei and Zhao Fei were rendered completely speechless. This guy was almost at the same level as Qi Xiuhong, but compared to Qi Xiuhong, he was much too bold. He was playing this game with no regard for his own life at all—a White Lotus Seventh Grade cultivator actually dared to surround himself with so many Blue Lotus experts; even managing to act like it was the most natural thing in the world and made everyone to feel completely terrified of him.
"Damn. You really had us all fooled!" Sikong Wuwei didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Curious, Zhao Fei asked, "What is a White Lotus Seventh Grade cultivator like yourself doing in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade? Logically speaking, your cultivation wouldn't be able to threaten the Manor Head's position anyway. You didn't somehow offend the Manor Head just like Qi Xiuhong did, did you?"
Miao Yi replied coolly, "Is offending the Manor Head such a big deal? The one I offended was the Hall Master. He overruled the Manor Head and drafted me personally. I had no choice but to come!"
"...." The two stared at Miao Yi wide-eyed in disbelief, thinking that he was truly an amazing man indeed to even dare offend a Hall Master, a being at the Red Lotus cultivation realm.
"That can't be! If you're just a White Lotus Seventh Grade cultivator, why did Traversing Moon Palace choose you to be the Steward of the ships then?" cried Zhao Fei, looking like he was still in disbelief.
As before, Miao Yi frankly replied, "Perhaps you two had failed to notice when we were boarding, but the place we boarded the ships from was precisely my territory. In truth, I am the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Calming Sea. My Mount Calming Sea was exactly the one in-charge of all the preparations. Since the authority was in the palm of my hands, how hard could it be to give myself a mere Steward's position? I could have easily set all ten ships ablaze at the time if I weren't pleased."
"..." The other two exchanged glances, utterly lost for words once more. They had really been completely duped.
Many among the forces on the other side gloated when they saw Miao Yi and his group conversing. They were ready to see them break apart. How could two Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivators continue to follow behind a mere White Lotus cultivator?
"Both of you, I have now told you the truth. It is not too late for regrets. If you two wish to submit to the other side, I will not blame you. However, I think you two will have to cooperate with me on one thing at least!" said Miao Yi, completely unperturbed.
Sikong Wuwei asked, "Cooperate with you on what?"
Miao Yi calmly explained, "If you two surrender, I would no longer need to fight since I will be alone. Obviously then, I would choose to run. And you two will definitely need to cooperate with me so that I can escape."
Curious, the two asked simultaneously, "Why?"
Miao Yi faintly smiled, "They surely believe that all three transcendent artifacts are still in my possession. If I die here and they fail to locate the transcendent artifacts on my body, they will definitely turn their suspicions towards you two afterwards. Let me ask you two this—do you still think you are able to keep those two transcendent artifacts then? Only by helping me escape will you two be able to push all the blame onto me and say that the transcendent artifacts are all in my possession. Everybody wins. So why not rejoice?!"
The other two exchanged glances again.
Zhao Fei eyed Miao Yi up and down. Suddenly, he raised his thumb and offered his heartfelt praise, "Miao Yi, oh, Miao Yi. You have me completely impressed. It was not without reason indeed that we were so completely fooled by you. If someone were to tell me a White Lotus Seventh Grade cultivator like you could make it out of the Sea of Constellations alive, I would no longer doubt it in the least!"
Sikong Wuwei rolled his eyes, "Damn it, you win! I swear, someday I will die because of you!"