Finally, Dong Quan and the rest of the Red Scarves Alliance had arrived as well.
Ye Xin turned to the island and said, "This is quite suspicious. Could there be something strange happening on that island?"
"We don't have time to think about this right now. We need to catch up to them first. We can't let Miao Yi escape." Gu Sanzheng signalled with his hand, ordering everyone to charge towards the island.
As soon as they reached shore, Gu Sanzheng and the other two immediately summoned their Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts, as did the rest with their dragon steeds once they were ashore...
Meanwhile, having arrived much earlier than Gu Sanzheng's group and presently deep within the mountains, Zhao Fei suddenly raised his hand to stop the other two beside him before whispering, "There's demonic energy."
Miao Yi and Sikong Wuwei immediately opened their transcendence vision and saw, amidst the afterglow of twilight, a blurry gray fog before them. It was undoubtedly demonic energy. If they hadn't opened their transcendence vision, they wouldn't have noticed.
"Damn! This demonic energy has already coalesced into fog. How many demons must be hiding within the mountains ahead?" Sikong Wuwei cursed. "We don't even know how strong they are. Can we charge past them?"
"It would be better to circle around. Now's not the time to be making more enemies if we can help it." Miao Yi said.
Zhao Fei nodded in agreement and said, "We don't have a clear enough understanding of the enemy forces in front, and from behind, our pursuers are closing in. It would be terrible if we were to suffer a pincer attack. It's best not to engage."
The trio scanned their surroundings, then headed towards the canyon on their right.
Right after they entered the canyon, Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei suddenly shared a look. Sikong Wuwei's hammer abruptly enlarged, and he quickly hurled it out. A sonic boom blasted out as it swung towards a giant boulder on the mountain.
Miao Yi didn't understand what was going on. Suddenly, someone jumped out from behind the boulder, sounding terribly frightened as he shouted, "Great Celestial Niu, spare me please!"
Miao Yi was astonished when he saw who it was, and shouted, "STOP!"
Sikong Wuwei had no way to stop such a big hammer that was already set on its course. Its speed and might were simply too overwhelming to be controlled once it left its wielder's hands. It could only be summoned back using the force of the rebound. This was also why the Mountain Suppressing Hammer could only travel back and forth between its target and its wielder's hands.
However, he was not completely out of options. Sikong Wuwei quickly invoked his arts, and the Mountain Suppressing Hammer swiftly shrunk back to its original size. However, it still carried the residual force from when it was enlarged and smashed into the giant boulder with a loud boom, pulverizing it into rubble. The person begging for his life was scared out of his wits and dived to the ground, hugging his head as his whole body trembled in fright.
Calling back the hammer to his hand, Sikong Wuwei looked to Miao Yi and asked curiously, "What's going on?"
"Great Celestial Niu?" Zhao Fei was also looking at him in a puzzled manner.
"Let's go have a look at him first." Miao Yi led the other two over to the groveling man.
The thin man groveling on the ground slowly lifted his head; his two long whiskers were disheveled like unkempt grass, his eyes shifty and cunning. He looked completely miserable.
Miao Yi was happy when he found out it was really who he thought it was. It was none other than the rat spirit Pi Junzi, the second demonic spirit he met back when he had arrogantly come over to the Sea of Constellations to hunt for treasure.
"Great Celestial Niu, we meet again. This humble one has missed you terribly."
After barely escaping with his life from the Mountain Suppressing Hammer, Pi Junzi scrambled up to his feet. He forced a smile and acted incredibly subservient. He cast a furtive glance towards the Mountain Suppressing Hammer in Sikong Wuwei's hands, a lingering fear in his heart. If he hadn't been acquainted with the man before him, he would probably be a flattened clump of blood and flesh by now.
Miao Yi asked curiously, "Pi Junzi. What are you doing here?"
Pi Junzi sheepishly replied, "This humble one is here to patrol the mountain."
"Patrol the mountain?" Miao Yi was shocked. His memory wasn't that bad. He was positive this wasn't Pi Junzi's original territory. There was a fair amount of distance between them.
His gaze fell upon the golden bangle on Pi Junzi's wrist, and he immediately understood everything. It seemed like this unlucky fool was also a participant for the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade.
At this moment, the sounds of battle coming from the ocean behind them had quieted down. Miao Yi didn't have time to ask too many questions and simply said, "Since you're patrolling the mountain here, you should be familiar with the area. Take us to a safe place to hide."
Pi Junzi was no fool either. He could guess that the trio were probably under pursuit from a strong opponent. He nodded repeatedly and said, "Then please follow this humble one."
He quickly led the trio deep into the canyon.
They eventually came into a dangerously precipitous canyon. Pi Junzi pushed away a large boulder along the side of the canyon, revealing a dark cave behind. He extended his arm and invited the other three inside.
The trio exchanged glances and were immediately on alert. Miao Yi leveld his spear at Pi Junzi and warned, "You had better not be playing any tricks. Otherwise, I can assure you that you will die a horrible death."
Pi Junzi had experienced Miao Yi's ruthlessness before. He waved his hand anxiously and said, "No tricks. No tricks at all. This is a cave that this humble one dug out himself. However, I will have to ask everyone to suppress their human auras."
They were running against time. They could already make out the sound of hoofbeats coming from the distance. They had no choice but to go inside. Once they were in the cave, Pi Junzi placed the giant boulder outside back in its original place to hide the entrance.
Although the entrance was not big, the inside of the cave was quite spacious. There was no end in sight, with stone steps descending downwards. The path itself was pitch-black, but with their transcendence vision, they were not afraid of losing sight of the path.
When he saw this, Miao Yi immediately felt something amiss. The passage within the cave was quite wide, and the steps were in such good conditions. It didn't seem like a place to stay alone. Furthermore, there was a mix of different demonic auras in the air, which couldn't possibly belong to just Pi Junzi alone.
He suddenly brandished the Inversed-Scales Spear, fixing the hook of the spearhead around Pi Junzi's neck and grimly said, "Pi Junzi. You'd better not tell me you are temporarily staying here all by yourself."
Pi Junzi immediately shook his hands and carefully replied , "Lord Niu. This humble one wasn't lying. This humble one was the one who dug out all the underground caves on this island for the past few years. Please lower your voice. Most of the Yao cultivators on the island are staying here. That is why I asked you all to suppress your human auras. It will be better if you can release some of the demonic aura on your Yao Cores to camouflage yourselves. I trust you have experience in this?"
'He has experience?' Both Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei looked at Miao Yi.
However, Miao Yi was enraged and said, "How dare you bring us into a demon's nest?!"
'You're afraid of a demon's nest? It's not like you've never infiltrated one before. You even killed Commander Yuan!' Pi Junzi thought mockingly to himself. He anxiously shook his hands once again and said, "This humble one is honestly doing it for your sake. There are many tree demons on the island. If I didn't bring all of you here, we will surely be discovered if we travel outside. I am the one who dug out all these underground passages, so I am most familiar with them. I wouldn't dare bring Lord Niu here if I was not confident!"
After hearing what he said, Sikong Wuwei and Zhao Fei were confident that this man was definitely a demonic spirit from the Sea of Constellations. But why would Miao Yi be acquainted with a Yao cultivator from the Sea of Constellations? And why did he call Miao Yi the Great Celestial Niu, or Lord Niu?
In the end, the trio followed Pi Junzi's instructions and suppressed their human auras, then used the demonic aura from the Yao Cores to camouflage themselves. Afterwards, Pi Junzi instructed them to take off their battle armor and undo their hair buns. They did as instructed, spreading their hair to cover half their faces, then proceeded down the depths of the underground passage.
Miao Yi remained vigilant. He placed several of the tiny mantids on Pi Junzi, and the group proceeded with Pi Junzi in the center.
After walking a short distance, Sikong Wuwei could feel his heart beating hard. It was his first time infiltrating a demon's nest. This was a little too exciting. He couldn't help transmitting his voice over to Miao Yi and asking, "Miao Yi. What is going on here? It looks to me like this Yao cultivator is very afraid of you!"
Zhao Fei was also feeling nervous. Never in his whole life had he played such a risky game before.
"It's a long story. The point is, he's a rat spirit who suffered defeat at my hands. I'll explain in detail if we get the chance later on." Miao Yi replied telepathically...
The forces of the Red Scarves Alliance were finally all ashore. They mounted their dragon steeds and charged into the forest ahead.
"There's demonic energy ahead!"
After passing by a mountain, Gu Sanzheng suddenly raised his hand and gave a shout. The rest of the troops came to an abrupt halt.
Everyone else opened their transcendence vision and noticed the demonic energy as well. It seemed like the island was infested with demons. However, because of this, Ye Xin furrowed her brows and remarked, "Since there are so many demons on this island, it isn't likely Miao Yi and his group were able to travel freely. Why isn't there any commotion at all?"
"We can't be sure how many Yao cultivators are on the island. It won't be wise to spread out and search." Gu Sanzheng turned to Tan Lao, "You're up."
Tan Lao nodded, "As long as they are still on the island, they won't be able to escape."
With a flip of his hand, Tan Lao took out a red-nosed black fox from his beast sack and held it before him. He made some squeaking noises at it, then placed it on the ground.
The black fox stuck its nose to the ground and sniffed around. After a while, it seemed like it caught the scent of something peculiar. It raised its head towards the canyon that Miao Yi and the others had previously escaped into and took a whiff. Then, it turned to Tan Lao and squeaked, before turning back and darting out towards the canyon.
"It found them. They fled that way!" said Tan Lao, pointing in the direction the black fox had run off to.
The troops immediately followed after the black fox. Soon, they reached the same rocky canyon where Miao Yi and the others had been.
Almost effortlessly, the red-nosed black fox found the place where Miao Yi and the others had entered from. It clawed around the gap between the large boulder and the face of the canyon...
Meanwhile, Miao Yi and the others had safely passed through the labyrinthine underground maze with Pi Junzi's guidance. If it weren't for him leading the way, they would definitely have lost their way in this underground complex. They came straight to Pi Junzi's personal quarters.
Just to be on the safe side, as Pi Junzi feared something would happen to him, he had dug out even more secret passageways in his own cave. He continued to lead the others through these secret tunnels.
As soon as they entered Pi Junzi's secret room, he heaved a sigh of relief and said, "Lord Niu. We can talk in peace now."
The others looked at the narrow space inside. Zhao Fei furrowed his brows and said, "There's only one entrance. If someone were to barricade it from the outside, given how deep underground this place is, wouldn't we be buried alive?"
Pi Junzi cupped his hands and said, "My lord does not need to worry." He pointed to a corner of the cave that was no different from the rest, and said, "I have prepared an escape route over there which goes straight into the ocean depths. Lord Niu, if you all wish to leave, I can escort you right away."
It was not Pi Junzi's first time dealing with Miao Yi. Even though Miao Yi was ruthless, as long as he complied obediently, he should be alright. When they first met, Miao Yi had honored his end of the bargain and spared Pi Junzi. Otherwise, Miao Yi could have easily killed him while he was unconscious.
That was why Pi Junzi couldn't wait to send these three disaster-attracting demons away, then he wouldn't have to be so anxious. This was why he didn't play any tricks at all.