"That Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beast is indeed stronger than your average dragon steed." Miao Yi clicked his tongue as he hid in the dark and watched the excitement.
This was the truth. He had witnessed it with his own eyes how nimble those Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts were. That was not something the average dragon steed could match. What was even more astonishing was that the beasts could both attack and defend on their own.
Most of the others steeds had suffered terribly when faced with those fiends who were still capable of attacking despite having been chopped in half. Only the Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts were fine. They would simply attack with their claws and knock the fiends' weapons away. Additionally, whenever they passed by an enemy that was not fully dead yet, the beasts would immediately crush their skulls under their feet. And whenever they passed by a fiend dragon steed, they would abruptly turn their heads, biting down on its legs with their sharp jaws and drag it down.
Miao Yi's group was alarmed by the sight. If one day they had to fight someone riding such a spiritual beast, they would really need to be careful.
Miao Yi wondered whether Charcoal would be able to win if he fought against a Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beast. He speculated that there was a high chance that Charcoal would suffer badly.
As soon as he thought about Charcoal, Miao Yi couldn't help but worry if he was okay right now. However, his attention was soon drawn back by the sudden turn of events on the battlefield.
The Red Scarves Alliance had the superior numbers to begin with. What's more, with the number one disciples of the three major sects and their mighty artifacts working in tandem with them, the battle completely favored one side. But suddenly, the forces of the Red Scarves Alliance were thrown into disarray once more.
As he charged past a giant tree, Dong Quan's mount suddenly tripped and fell. Dong Quan couldn't even process what just happened before realizing something was gripping his leg. He looked and saw a tree branch wrapped around his ankle like a tentacle, which then dragged him away from his fallen mount.
Dong Quan was in shock. He quickly tried to swing his weapon at the branch, but soon realized something tightening around his wrist. The same thing soon happened to his other wrist, and then his waist. In an instant, several tentacle-like tree branches were constricting his limbs. The branches wrapped round and round his body then dragged him away and hung him over a large tree.
Before he could think of a method to escape, an old wrinkly hand broke off from the bark of the ancient tree. The hand also looked like a branch. It then reached for a blade from within its body.
Scared out of his wits, Dong Quan struggled hard to escape. He shouted at the top of his lungs, "Alliance Master, save—"
His voice was abruptly cut short as fresh blood spurted out of his neck. The giant tree behind him had beheaded him with a scimitar.
Dong Quan's decapitated head was casually thrown aside, his eyes wide with fear. Even in his wildest dreams, he'd probably never imagined that his long and arduous path of cultivation would come to such an unremarkable end.
No matter if he was a compassionate saint or a vile criminal, death came like the blowing of a candle. All the lies he told, the grudges he held, the debts he carried. All of them became dust in the wind the moment his headless, bloodied corpse fell to the side.
A cultivation base at the Blue Lotus Ninth Grade was already the highest level possible in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade. Any higher than that would be a cultivation at the Red Lotus realm. People with strength like that would not participate in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade. However, even a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade expert like Dong Quan had died to a treant* without even being able to put up so much as a fight. This was a testament to the cruelty that was the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade.
After that treant finished Dong Quan off, it became like the thousand-hand bodhisattva, brandishing dozens of weapons on its arms, and started viciously attacking the people around it. Its roots assisted it further, which were protruding out of the ground. It could coil around a dragon steed's hooves and bring it down, or simply stab it with a scimitar from underground and kill it instantly.
That treant possessed many arms, and each of them was long. It also had plenty of weapons. The troops of the Red Scarves Alliance would attack it frantically, but even then they still had difficulty approaching its body. Even if they managed to chop off an arm, the treant remained unperturbed, giving others the impression as though they had merely chopped off a normal tree branch. One of the treant's roots would then shoot out from the ground and grab the fallen weapon before continuing to attack once more.
Gu Sanzheng had turned his head over to look and pointed forth with his finger, directing three Thunderclap Flying Swords to quickly save Dong Quan. But alas, he was too late.
The treant that had killed about five to six people in succession seemed to know of the might of Gu Sanzheng's Thunderclap Flying Swords. It immediately gathered a dozen of its mighty arms and swung its weapons towards the three swords. The sound of clashing steel echoed forth as it knocked them away.
However, as it had been hasty, several openings were created from its defensive maneuver. And with the surrounding forces closing in on it, not even the treant dared to fight against them all by itself. The ground then suddenly trembled and sunk in, causing the troops charging over to lose their balance and fall into disarray.
The giant tree then retracted its branches. It was trying to escape. Swoosh! It instantly dived underground.
A vicious glint flashed past Gu Sanzheng's eyes. Once again he used his fingers to direct dozens of Thunderclap Flying Swords to stab into the sunken ground.
"Ah…!" A wail rang out from underground, and a fountain of blood instantly erupted from the surface.
However, how could there only be one treant in this area? Countless roots suddenly erupted from the ground. Like tentacles, they wrapped around the mounts of the Red Scarves Alliance. Otherwise, they simply struck from underground using their weapons.
The countless roots had even caught the three Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts. Fortunately, they possessed an incredibly tough carapace which could not be easily penetrated by all manner of weaponry. Otherwise, their fates would have been tragic.
There was no end to the trouble caused by the roots underground. Meanwhile, beside them were giant trees that could come alive at any moment and attack them. The forces of the Red Scarves Alliance couldn't move from their spot at all; every step was an obstacle. Furthermore, using the chaos created by those treants, the few remaining fiends started charging blindly and attacking as well.
At this moment, several Yao cultivators who were not treants showed themselves. They dove into the chaotic battlefield between the trees and dealt another heavy blow to the Red Scarves Alliance's forces.
The entire Red Scarves Alliance plunged into terror. The casualties were rapidly increasing. They couldn't run away even if they wanted to now that they were deep inside the forest. Everyone instantly felt like they were in purgatory.
"Haha…!" On the distant mountaintop, Hei Langjun lifted his head and bellowed. He was overjoyed. The two voluptuous women beside him immediately dove into his embrace, allowing him to caress their bodies in front of everyone else.
Watching from the dark, Miao Yi's group exchanged glances. Only Pi Junzi seemed used to the sight already.
Miao Yi and the others finally understood. No wonder Hei Langjun still dared to fight against Gu Sanzheng's forces despite knowing how powerful they were. As it turned out, he had something he could rely on. And the way these treants hid between the trees and attacked was truly terrifying indeed. Their opponents were not able to differentiate which were normal trees, and which were the treants. Those on the battlefield would definitely feel restless every time they saw a giant tree. And in this dense forest, there was a great number of them.
"The Red Scarves Alliance has suffered many casualties this time!" Zhao Fei shook his head and sighed.
This was the true nature of the cultivation realm. There are times when victory was not guaranteed, even with a higher cultivation and superior numbers. The scenery right now was a prime example of that. It was truly not guaranteed.
Suddenly, something swept past their backs. The four of them looked back in shock and saw a twig rising from the ground, pointing at Pi Junzi's nose.
Miao Yi and the others were taken further by surprise when, on the bark of a giant tree behind them, a wrinkly human face suddenly appeared. The human face opened its mouth, its finger pointing at Pi Junzi as it berated him in a low voice, "Pi Junzi, why are the four of you hiding here? Everyone is already fighting. Why aren't you helping?!"
Their nerves suddenly lost their tension, as they thought they had been discovered. But the treant was just here to ask them to join the fight.
Miao Yi didn't wait for Pi Junzi to respond and immediately scolded, "Go away. The Alliance Master has ordered us to lie in ambush here. He naturally has plans of his own. He doesn't need you to question them." Zhao Fei and the others were left speechless. Miao Yi then turned to them, and with a wave of his hand, said, "We'll continue observing!"
Miao Yi turned his head back to the battlefield. The other three followed suit. Suddenly, Miao Yi added, "Help us keep watch and warn us immediately if anyone approaches. If anything happens to the Alliance Master's plans, you'll have to answer to him."
Puzzled, that treant asked, "Who are you? Why have I never seen you before?"
"We're the Alliance Master's backup plan. Don't ask too many questions if you don't need to know. It will do you no good to know too much," Miao Yi haughtily ended the discussion with a single line. He turned back to face the battlefield, no longer bothering with the treant.
The treant was speechless. The wrinkly old face on the tree bark slowly faded away and it reverted back to the appearance of an average tree.
Zhao Fei, Sikong Wuwei, and Pi Junzi would occasionally look at Miao Yi. They noticed that he'd focused his entire attention on the battlefield. He wasn't concerned about the treant behind them at all. He simply gave it a scolding then ignored it completely.
The three of them weren't as thick-skinned as Miao Yi and couldn't cast the matter aside just like that. Their nerves tensed up as they remained vigilant of their backs.
Back on the battlefield. Gu Sanzheng quickly sliced off the tree branches coiled around his mount with the Thunderclap Flying Swords hovering around him.
Once Ye Xin's Ruyi Whip extended, it became like a thorny, nimble snake, and she quickly twirled it around her body. It was quite terrifying. All the branches that approached her were immediately ground to splinters. The other riders followed after her as she charged towards a treant that was attacking the people around it.
Noticing the situation was bad, the treant quickly retracted its branches and burrowed itself underground.
"Trying to run?" Ye Xin shouted. The whip rapidly twirling around her body suddenly lashed out. Bang! It dove straight into the ground and caught the escaping treant.
Ye Xin didn't contend with the treant in strength. With a tug, the thorny whip coiled around the treant underground and immediately tightened its grip, its barbs digging into the treant's body.
"Ah…!" Another wail erupted from underground as blood gushed forth. Ye Xin tore the treant in half from underground.
Tan Lao was simply charging on his steed, striking at places where a treant could be found. Four spiked shields rapidly rotated alongside the Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beast as it charged, immediately slicing off the roots as soon as they rose from the ground.
He was not afraid of the vast number of weapons the treant wielded either. The shields hovering about him were also able to block its rain of attacks. He separated one rotating spiked shield from the group and launched it away, tearing the treant apart from the waist down. Blood spurted out from the broken bark as the treant wailed in agony.
Gu Sanzheng seemed enraged as well. The Thunderclap Flying Swords shot out like a raging storm, ripping apart all the trees in sight. He didn't care if they were actually treants or not.
The wails of the treants echoed throughout the battlefield, although most of the fallen wood belonged to actual trees. Soon, all the giant trees within a thousand meter radius were chopped off by his Thunderclap Flying Swords.
The flying swords shot back, clearing away all the obstacles in its path.
With everyone's combined efforts, they quickly dispatched all the treants within the area. The Red Scarves Alliance's advantage of having superior numbers was soon displayed as they exterminated all the fiends and fiend dragon steeds shortly after. The surviving Yao cultivators immediately dove into the forest behind them and started retreating.
The troops of the Red Scarves Alliance all gathered within this thousand-meter radius. They didn't dare to charge blindly as they didn't know how many more treants could be hiding among the countless trees in this forest.
The battle had yet to conclude, but the numbers of the Red Scarves Alliance were already down to half, with only about five hundred troops remaining. When he saw this, Gu Sanzheng's expression turned icy.
This was his greatest loss throughout his journey in the Sea of Constellations. There were so many of them fighting against just a few Yao cultivators, but the number of casualties they suffered was even greater than the sum of Yao cultivators attacking. Even Blue Lotus Ninth Grade experts like Dong Quan, Fei De-an, and Hu Zhiyuan had fallen in battle.
What pained him even more was that the disciples of the three major sects were all but exterminated in this battle. There was less than ten of them now.
Gu Sanzheng ground his teeth in hatred and bellowed, "Set this forest ablaze! I want to exterminate every living creature on this island!"