Gu Sanzheng and Tan Lao were in close pursuit, while Ye Xin was hot on their trail from behind, her lips pursed all the while. The three of them had already shaken off the troops behind them in the distance. The speed of those dragon steeds could never compare to theirs.
"No wonder that bastard equipped his steed with a set of battle armor. It looks like there's something odd about it." Gu Sanzheng tilted his head to look at Tan Lao.
Tan Lao nodded in reply. "The steed's armor is a worthy treasure."
They were giving the armor all the credit for Charcoal's speed.
The island wasn't massive to begin with, and it could never accommodate the spiritual beasts from their rampage. As Charcoal rushed to the coast, he suddenly soared about a couple of hundred meters high up into the air.
In midair, Miao Yi and the others rose up from Charcoal's back. The armor on Charcoal's body transformed into a black mist as it seeped into Miao Yi's storage bracelet.
With a splash, they stirred up the surface of the water. Crashing into the sea, Charcoal dove ferociously to the bottom of its depths and swam off.
Miao Yi and the other two landed on top of the water, and they quickly made their move by treading on the waves. Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei each grabbed Miao Yi's arms as they ran across the waves, lugging Miao Yi with them as fast as they could to make their escape.
They were out of options. If they used a wooden raft, then they'd travel at a speed slower than this. On top of that, Charcoal's swimming was not as fast as treading the waves. The reason why they were lugging Miao Yi with them was because Miao Yi's cultivation base was too low. Miao Yi wouldn't be able to run far if he insisted on struggling with his cultivation like this.
This time around, Miao Yi had finally separated himself from Charcoal. They wouldn't be able to travel as swiftly if they brought Charcoal along. If they did, then they might even implicate Charcoal instead since the three great sects were targeting the three of them after all, and not a mere mount. Letting the enemy's forces focus on them would be a good thing for Charcoal who'd run off on his own.
Storing away Charcoal's armor would make it more convenient for Charcoal to move about in the sea.
So long as both parties were safe, Miao Yi was not afraid that Charcoal wouldn't be able to locate him. It goes without saying that a spiritual beast like the dragon steed had the ability to sense where their masters were.
Upon charging to the coast, the Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts similarly leaped into the sky. While still in the air, looking as though they were about to fall, Gu Sanzheng and the others opened up their beast sacks, instantly putting away the Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts. In a flash, they landed on the surface of the sea, hot in pursuit as they too, rode the waves. Judging by their actions, it was obvious that they didn't want to let Miao Yi and the others escape.
The trio in front pressed on urgently as they tried to escape, while the other three tenaciously gave chase from behind. Further back, a large troop of forces was falling behind a great deal, struggling to keep up due to the difference in cultivation. Thousands of men were tied up in close pursuit on the sea's surface. It was a magnificent sight.
At the very back, once the crew passed him by, Charcoal poked his head from the depths of the sea and surveyed his surroundings. Upon discovering that he was far from danger, he flicked his tail above the sea, seemingly pleased with himself. Soon after, he dived once again into the waves and swam off.
Among the six people running at the very front, they all had a cultivation base of a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade, with the exception of Miao Yi. However, even if their cultivation was at the same grade, there was a difference in their strength as well. Based on this alone, Zhao Fei's and Sikong Wuwei's strengths were no less inferior to that of Gu Sanzheng and the others, so when the two of them joined forces to escape with Miao Yi, they did not fear that the others would catch up to them.
Both parties maintained the distance separating them. They could neither pull further away, nor could they shorten the distance between them.
"Now we're in deep shit. We can't beat them, regardless of what we do, and we also lost our mount. Surely we can't keep running on the sea forever. We will be at a severe disadvantage once we reach the shore." Sikong Wuwei swore angrily while he kept stealing glances behind them.
"This is all your rotten idea. When we killed the Seeker Birds, I already said we should go, but you insisted on trying out your giant hammer. Now the deed is done. It's difficult for us to escape anymore," Miao Yi retorted.
Sikong Wuwei instantly tried to pass his responsibility in the matter. "You can't blame me alone. Zhao Fei played a part in this as well. He also agreed to test the enemy's strength."
Zhao Fei remarked in a low voice, "What's the purpose of pointing fingers now? If you gave me the choice again, I would still choose to fight them. It's something we'll have to face sooner or later. Since we each had a good transcendent artifact at hand, it was a given that we'd test their strength."
"Okay, then let's not go there." Sikong Wuwei tilted his head to look at Miao Yi. He chuckled, "I didn't know that Little Brother could be such an affectionate man. The reason you didn't want to leave in Qi Xiuhong's direction was because you were afraid of implicating her, right? Little Brother, you might not want to hear this, but even if you could bring her along and survive the Sea of Constellations together, she might not even want to go with you. If she went back, no matter how low her cultivation, she will still be a Manor Head. She will never remain at your side, warming your bed. Can't you tell that she was purposely keeping her distance from you?"
Zhao Fei shook his head in reply. "That might not even be true. She can choose to take up the Manor Head post in a region adjacent to Miao Yi's. If something bad were to happen, she could get help from him, given the level of her cultivation."
Sikong Wuwei clicked his tongue and said, "Then wouldn't that make Manor Head Miao someone who sleeps with his neighboring Manor Head? How could the neighboring Manor Head's subordinates put up with this?"
Zhao Fei rolled his eyes. He realized that everything that came out of this man's mouth was always so vulgar.
As expected, Miao Yi shouted angrily. "I can sleep with whoever I want! What does this have anything to do with you two?!"
"Forget it. Pretend I didn't say anything. I said it out of goodwill, and you aren't even grateful." Strangely, Sikong Wuwei only spat in disdain.
Zhao Fei gave a dry cough and replied, "Worst comes to worst, we'll have to keep running on the sea. I don't believe that they can keep up with us on it. Once it's dark, we'll dive into the sea and randomly choose a direction to escape. They won't be able to find us."
Sikong Wuwei also took the chance to change the subject. "Although it's a dumb idea, it's still a plan. I just fear that we'll bump into some kind of sea monster. The Sea of Constellations is never calm. If they hadn't already driven out most of the demons in the Western Star Sea for the sake of the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade, I would never have dared to run on top of it like this!"
Zhao Fei berated, "Your f***ing mouth! Can't you say something nice for a change?!"
"I'm an honest man. And I'm only telling it like it is." Sikong Wuwei laughed dryly.
Those hot on their trail weren't able to close in on the trio regardless of what they did. It was a difficult feat to attack from afar. Gu Sanzheng turned around to utter, "Tan Lao, we won't be able to achieve anything if we continue to chase them in this manner. If they keep running on the sea, they'll have reached the boundless sea by the time the sky turns dark. We won't be able to find them! So don't hide the monsters inside your beast sack anymore! Release them!"
Tan Lao shook his head in rejection. "If I could release them earlier, I would have done it already. Miao Yi has the Mystic Yin Mirror with him, which will prevent my beasts from getting close. It will be a loss if I let them out."
Gu Sanzheng frowned and asked, "You are still worried about that now? With Miao Yi's cultivation base, he will definitely struggle if he tries to use a transcendent artifact like the Mystic Yin Mirror. Having exhausted his transcendence energy, Miao Yi will drag the others down, slowing their speed in the process. Even if the other two use the Mystic Yin Mirror, that could also exhaust their transcendence energy too. Sacrificing some things to hold them up is a necessity. Otherwise, if we wait until dark, and they make their escape by diving deep into the sea, it will be hard for us to find them again in the vast Western Star Sea, especially since we don't have the Seeker Birds anymore. How are you going to report this to Elder Wu once you return?"
They still believed that Miao Yi had lied with his bullsh*t about how ghost cultivators are the only one who can wield the Mystic Yin Mirror. After all, Miao Yi had already used it before.
His lips pursed, Tan Lao finally made his decision since Gu Sanzheng's words had some truth to them. They had to kill Miao Yi no matter what, otherwise even if they could leave the Sea of Constellations alive, they wouldn't be able to survive past Elder Wu.
Lifting his hand, he smacked the beast sack hanging around his waist. Following the sounds of flapping, thousands of strange black bats with sharp claws and teeth, each with a pointy horn on their heads, charged out into the sky. They released a foul stench as they spiraled upwards with a loud piercing screech. Tan Lao placed a finger on his lips and shushed them. The thousands of strange bats instantly surged towards the trio on the run before them.
Miao Yi and the others turned to look, their expressions changing immediately.
Never underestimate the School of Imperial Beasts. Those strange and queer beings looked quite frightening, to say the least. When Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei were engaged in battle with them earlier, they noticed that the School of Imperial Beasts hadn't released any beasts. By then, they had vaguely figured out that they were fearful of Miao Yi's Mystic Yin Mirror. They didn't expect that their enemy would eventually set them free.
"What's up with those bats?" Sikong Wuwei asked as he turned to Zhao Fei. Zhao Fei shook his head in reply. Although their cultivation level was high, they had never seen these bats before in their life.
"Those are the Heart-Devouring Bats!" On the contrary, Miao Yi was a person who had met them before. He quickly explained to the two, "They are exceptionally fast. And their ability to pierce through things is astonishing. The horns on their heads can even pierce through a defensive shield! Anyone with a cultivation base of Red Lotus and below won't be able to withstand it! They can impale a person's body in one go and devour your heart. Not only that, they are incredibly poisonous as well. They're savage beasts! However, it's not possible for them to break through our armor. They can only aim at places which aren't covered by our protective armor, so they're not that much of a menace to us yet."
"What's there to be afraid of?" Sikong Wuwei chuckled. "It's the appropriate time for you to use your Mystic Yin Mirror against these bastards."
As though they were reacting to his words, the bats which were hot on their trail instantly dispersed, trying to avoid becoming a target in one go.
Zhao Fei's face sunk. "Not good. You can't use your Mystic Yin Mirror for too long. They also don't give a damn about the Heart-Devouring Bats. They only want to force us to make a move and use the bats to slow us down."
Sikong Wuwei also noticed this and exclaimed with hatred in his voice, "Let's dive into the sea!"
"We can't run fast in the water. They'll quickly catch up to us from above."
"If not, let's fight them head-on!"
"Using what exactly?" Zhao Fei asked hoarsely. "The resistance in the water is too strong! Your hammer will not be able to exhibit its strength in the sea! Previously, it was already difficult for the two of us to hold back their attacks. If we're in the sea, my Spirit Illusion Greatsword won't be able to hold them off on its own. It's suicidal!"
"Go!" Miao Yi suddenly cried out. Thirty-five small mantids flitted their wings, flying out in a hurry.
Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei watched as the mantids scuttled out in a frenzy. Their eyes flickered as they asked in unison, "Your mantids can deal with the Heart-Devouring Bats?"
"I don't know!" Miao Yi smiled bitterly. But what other choice did he have now?
Normally, it was rare for him to use the tiny mantids. Even if he did, he only used them sneakily. It was a fair contrast to now, when he'd released them to fight to their deaths in broad daylight.
The large blanket of Heart-Devouring Bats pounced on them. Although only thirty-five mantids were rising up into the air, they were fearless against the thousands of bats. The mantids brazenly collided with the Heart-Devouring Bats, and the terrible battle instantly reached a climax.
The Heart-Devouring Bats were fast, but the tiny mantids were faster. It was obvious that they were twice as fast as the bats. No wonder they were the direct descendants of the Hell Mantids from the Boundless Secular World.
Letting out a screeching sound, the Heart-Devouring Bats bared their fangs at the tiny charging mantids and began to bite them upon collision, scratching them with their claws or attempting to stab them with their horns.
The tiny mantids were not weak. Under Miao Yi's desperate orders, these little ones who usually seemed cute gave off an intense savage aura, finally revealing their sinister side. When faced with the enemy, their eyes slowly revealed a green light, their incisors beginning to chew nonstop.
They quickly avoided the bats, and akin to the grim reaper wielding two scythes, they brandished their way through the cloud of bats, each pair of winding sharp scythes slashing down and retracting like a bolt of lightning.