Miao Yi dismounted from his dragon steed and pulled Yan Beihong up while invoking his arts to dispel the cold Yin energy in Yan Beihong's body.
"Ugh…" Still a little groggy from having just regained consciousness, Yan Beihong slowly opened his eyes. When he saw Miao Yi looking at him with a menacing smile on his face, his eyes instantly widened in shock.
However, before he could burst out in anger, Miao Yi hurriedly laughed and explained, "It's your fault for not finding a better place to hide. My Mystic Yin Mirror can't differentiate between friend or foe. If I had tried to avoid hitting you, I would have risked letting some of them escape. I wasn't setting you up on purpose."
Yan Beihong's consciousness was still quite hazy, and his body couldn't help shivering a little. As he gradually came to, he slowly got up, then quickly looked over to see how Song Zeming and the others fared. It seemed his main concern was still the success of the plan. He didn't mind enduring a little chill if it meant accomplishing their goal.
When he saw Song Zeming and the others all frozen stiff on the snow-crusted ground, his body started shaking again out of reflex. But soon, he raised his head and laughed aloud. "Glorious Cloud Sect! You wished to eliminate me, but sadly my life is not yours to take! Just wait! Eventually, I will utterly annihilate all of you and thrash your tens of thousands of years of legacy down to the ground!"
Yan Beihong then turned around and saw Miao Yi treating his mount. His mouth still quivering, Yan Beihong couldn't help asking, "Little Brother, you really scared me just now. I thought you were going to take me down along with them too. There aren't going to be any after-effects on my body, right? Why do I keep shivering?"
"Perhaps there is still some Yin energy left inside your body. You can just use your arts to dispel them. It'll be fine. At most, your stamina will be a little expended." As he said this, Miao Yi unsheathed his sword artifact and was about to land the killing blow on Song Zeming and the others. Since he had already made his move, he wanted to make sure there were no loose ends. After all, he too was a ruthless man!
"Wait!" Yan Beihong raised his hand and shouted.
With sword raised and ready to slash down, Miao Yi turned his head around and asked, "Why? Do you wish to spare them? Big Brother Yan, forgive me for being blunt, but since we've already attacked them, there is no longer any need to be courteous. We will just be inviting trouble for ourselves if we let them go."
"That's not what I mean. Please don't misunderstand me, Little Brother!" Yan Beihong strode over and asked excitedly, "Are they all still alive?"
"For the time being, they won't die just yet. But who can say what will happen if they stay like this for too long?"
"Can they still be saved the same way you saved me?"
"So what if they can?" Miao Yi asked curiously, "You're not asking me to save them, are you?"
Yan Beihong raised his hand and pressed down on Miao Yi's sword. Then, as he gently tapped on Miao Yi's wrist, he turned to face the people frozen on the ground. A peculiar light could be seen in his eyes as he said, "All these years, these bastards have been saying whatever the hell they pleased to my face. They didn't even treat me like a proper human being. In order to survive in the Subjugation Crusade, I've had no choice but to take it quietly. How could I possibly think of sparing them? I just think you'll be letting them off too easily if you simply kill them like this. Let me deal with them instead!"
Miao Yi cast a careful glance at Yan Beihong. He kept feeling as though something was wrong with him somehow, but he couldn't be sure what it was. He just felt that Yan Beihong seemed rather temperamental. However, since he already made it clear that he was going to deal with them himself, Miao Yi simply nodded quietly and sheathed his sword back into its scabbard.
Then, he watched as Yan Beihong brandished that absurdly huge sword of his. With deft movements, he chopped off the limbs of Song Zeming and the rest. This way, even if they could somehow move again, they would still be crippled, and not be a threat.
Miao Yi couldn't help frowning at the sight as he wondered how much hatred Yan Beihong had for these people. He should just kill them straight if he wanted them dead. Why did he need to do something so cruel?
Having gathered a whole pile of storage rings and bangles in one fell swoop, Yan Beihong laughed aloud, "Little Brother! We're rich! Come come. Let's divide the spoils now. This is a time of celebration!"
Miao Yi was indeed quite interested in splitting the loot. He walked up to Yan Beihong and sat down on the opposite side.
From one of the storage bangles, Yan Beihong took out a longsword about four feet long and as wide as a palm. The sword was completely black with an amber-like hue like a piece of semi-transparent black jade.
Miao Yi's eyes instantly brightened. This transcendent artifact was definitely made from high-density Crystalline Obsidians that were free of any impurities.
Yan Beihong shot him a glance and teased, "Little Brother, your eyes are shining."
Miao Yi chuckled. "This is good stuff!"
"This is Duan Hongfei's Mother-Child Flying Sword," Yan Beihong explained. He then tossed it along with the storage bangle over to Miao Yi and said, "They're yours."
Miao Yi didn't reject the offer. He knew that Yan Beihong had his sights set on something even better, so he quickly accepted the Mother-Child Flying Sword. He then erased the transcendent mark imbued inside and replaced it with his own, thereby seizing complete control of the transcendent artifact.
As Miao Yi probed the Mother-Child Flying Sword with his transcendence energy to figure out how to operate it, Yan Beihong took out another transcendent artifact from a different storage bangle. This time, the artifact was a semi-transparent, silvery orb the size of a fist. Holding it in his hand, Yan Beihong explained, "This is Kong Yulian's Mist Pearl."
Miao Yi nodded in approval and said, "As expected of one of the top major sects in the Celestial Nation—to actually bestow so many powerful artifacts to their participating disciples in a single stroke."
"These are also yours now." Yan Beihong tossed the pearl and the storage bangle over to Miao Yi.
Catching the items in his hands, Miao Yi asked in surprise, "You're giving these to me too?"
"Just take it. Don't try to argue with me." Yan Beihong waved his hand and said in an adamant tone.
Miao Yi smiled. "Then I shall humbly accept them!"
Then, Yan Beihong took out another artifact from the last storage bangle. This time, it took the form of a black muslin cloth with glimmering gold embellishments. Raising it up in his hands, he laughed aloud. "This is the thing I wanted! Little Brother, I'll be taking this transcendent artifact."
Miao Yi smiled. "The goal of the plan this time was to help you obtain it, after all."
Yan Beihong laughed as he tucked away the Flowing Cloud Killer. After that, he continued searching Song Zeming's storage bangle. After a while, he suddenly clicked his tongue and said, "I can't believe the Glorious Cloud Sect even gave this to Song Zeming for the Subjugation Crusade."
As he was examining the Mist Pearl, Miao Yi raised his head and noticed Yan Beihong holding onto an immortal herb. However, this immortal herb was nowhere near the size he had used; it was only one-third of it.
"I'll be taking this immortal herb, but if you ever need it, I won't hesitate to use it on you. That said, it's best if us brothers never get the chance to use this thing!" Yan Beihong didn't beat around the bush and simply let Miao Yi know that he would be taking the immortal herb then quickly tucked it away. After that, without even bothering to check the other storage rings and bangles, he casually slid them over to Miao Yi and said, "The rest is all yours." He was as easygoing as ever.
Miao Yi was stunned. "You're giving them all to me?"
"You deserve it. If not for you, I wouldn't have been able to obtain a single one of these," said Yan Beihong. Then, he suddenly sighed. Staring at Miao Yi, he shook his head and continued, "Brother, I am very happy today. I really didn't misjudge you after all! If you had been taken by greed and had even the slightest selfish intention just now, I fear my life would have already come to an end at this very spot. The cultivation realm is full of deceit and trickery. It is hard to find someone that you can really trust. Meeting you was my blessing, and I would never trade that away for any amount of treasure in the world!"
Miao Yi smiled bitterly. "Still, you don't have to give them all to me. Why don't we do it this way then? You have another look and see if there's anything else you need. I can have the rest after that."
"Don't be such a girl. Us brothers are ambitious men. What's a little treasure compared to that? When the day comes that we can look down on the rest of the cultivation realm, what couldn't we obtain for ourselves?!" Yan Beihong casually waved his hand and stood up, then started pacing around the frozen bodies of Song Zeming and the others. There was a strange glint in his eyes, and he seemed to be deep in thought.
Miao Yi then gathered all the storage rings and bangles in his hands and said, "You're not going to say that you don't want the Geotranscendence Bangles inside these as well, are you? Let's at least split them in half. As for the rest of the items, I'll humbly accept them."
Yan Beihong simply waved his hand and answered, "Why would I want those worthless things? Not only can you not bring them out of the Sea of Constellations, but even if you could, you won't be able to trade them off for anything."
"Worthless things?" Miao Yi didn't know whether to laugh or cry as he continued, "You sure are generous. There are countless participants fighting tooth and nail just to get these in the Western Star Sea."
"That's because they're idiots." Yan Beihong then turned around and revealed the shimmering Geotranscendence Bangle on his wrist. He said, "There's actually no difference between having just the one on my wrist and the whole stack that you're lugging around there. It all depends on how you look at it. The reason these bastards and I managed to survive this long was all because we weren't fixated on these things."
Miao Yi was confused. He asked, "What do you mean?"
Yan Beihong pointed a finger towards Miao Yi, shaking his head as he said, "Are you just playing dumb, or do you really not understand? At the end of the Subjugation Crusade, there will only be one hundred survivors. Even if we fail to take even a single Geotranscendence Bangle, but as long as we survive till the end and have the ones on our wrists, we're guaranteed a position in the top one hundred. We're not like those major forces who need to fight for a high ranking. For us, the main priority isn't how many Geotranscendence Bangles we can get, it's how we can survive until the end. "
Yan Beihong's words hit Miao Yi like a bucket of cold water. He was instantly thunderstruck as he realized that Yan Beihong had a point. However, he soon shook his head and replied, "That's not entirely true. With a higher ranking, at least we'll get a larger portion of the Orbs of Will in the prize pot. Not to mention, once we return, the priority in choosing the domain to be a Manor Head will be entirely dependent on our ranking. So if our ranking is higher, we will be able to obtain richer lands."
Yan Beihong scoffed, "The participants sent over by the Six Sages alone would easily seize over thirty spots. Even if each of the seventy-two Earthly Branches had only one cultivator left, there won't be enough spots left over. Do you think there'll be a lot of people left to compete against you for the richest lands once you return? Hence, Little Brother, as long as we make it back alive, there is no need to worry about not getting any good territories."
Miao Yi couldn't help nodding in agreement as he listened to Yan Beihong's explanation.
Yan Beihong continued, "As for the Orbs of Will, if you're really keen on them, then all the more reason for you to keep the Geotranscendence Bangles for yourself. That way you will be able to get a higher ranking, which might be even better than if we split them in two resulting in both of us getting lower rankings individually. Perhaps you could obtain even more Orbs of Will like this. If that happens, you can simply gift me with a small portion as thanks."
Miao Yi was utterly dazed. He watched as Yan Beihong continued to pace around the crippled bodies of Song Zeming and the others. It seemed like he wasn't even the slightest bit interested in the Orbs of Will. Rather, he seemed more intrigued by Song Zeming and the others instead. Miao Yi couldn't help feeling puzzled. What kind of cultivator didn't desire to have more Orbs of Will? How could Yan Beihong be so unperturbed? Wasn't this a little too strange?
"Little Brother! I need your help to carry these bastards over to Song Zeming's quarters." As soon as he said this, Yan Beihong carried a few of them and left, leaving four bodies for Miao Yi to deal with.
Miao Yi was lost for words, thinking, 'How sick can you get? Why do you need to carry these limbless people somewhere else? Don't tell me you're thinking of torturing them even further to vent out your frustration?'