Ole Mo The Eighth was dismayed. He couldn't quell his trepidation even now. He was one of Qin Thirteen's loyal followers and the only one who'd made it out alive. That wench wasn't any stronger than Qin Thirteen, but the ominous weapon she'd suddenly unleashed was too dreadful.
His face pallid, Ole Mo trembled from head to toe at the mere thought of that flash of light followed by heads rolling. He'd never heard of such a terrifying treasure.
He and his companions had been indulging in pleasure just moments ago, only to see the sectmaster die the next instant, along with all his companions. All of them, dead! Ole Mo himself was now a stray dog.
He looked back as he ran, afraid the mighty weapon would catch up to him if he even blinked.
"Elder Qiu at the Empyrean River Palace won't take Sectmaster Qin's death lying down! This girl might be powerful, but Elder Qiu is an advanced emperor realm powerhouse. She won't look so mighty in front of him. That's right, I must tell Elder Qiu immediately." Ole Mo recovered his clarity of thought after a moment of panic.
"Wait, if I inform Elder Qiu right now, he'll know I'm the only one who survived out of the entire group. If he's angered by that, he might put me to death as a sacrifice for the sectmaster. Won't I get the worst of it then?" Ole Mo had his own personal worries as well.
But as he was fretting, a strand of consciousness suddenly swept through, originating from the sky above. The next moment, a cold haughty voice sounded. "Senior brother, the man below seems a little familiar. I think I've seen him somewhere!"
"Hm? He does really look a little familiar. Let's go down and have a look."
The two men speaking were young men in sect robes, giving off a dignified and extraordinary feeling, particularly the senior brother walking in front. With the dignified gait of a dragon among men, he seemed to exude an undeniable presence, radiating a crushing pressure.
The junior brother behind him seemed younger and more immature, but his expression was equally haughty, as if not many things under the sun were worth his attention. The two of them dropped from the clouds and materialized in front of Ole Mo like two ghosts.
Ole Mo froze when he saw them. He recognized them as Elder Qiu's disciples. In particular, the older one with the extraordinary presence had an exalted identity, being a true disciple. His cultivation was as high as his status was lofty, and he ranked as one of the most notable cultivators amongst the Empyrean River Palace's younger generation.
Ole Mo's impulse was to pick up his feet and flee, but he couldn't move an inch despite the urge. His feet wouldn't budge. They were rooted to the ground. He knew that if he tried to run, it would be no effort for the two disciples to crush him to pieces.
"Senior brother, I think this man is Qin Thirteen's subordinate." The junior brother with a frosty, haughty tone seemed to recognize Ole Mo.
With a wry face, Ole Mo stepped forward and kneeled in greeting. "This humble one is Ole Mo, here to pay respect to the two geniuses of the Empyrean River Palace."
"Ole Mo? Oh I remember, one of Qin Thirteen's men. Ole Mo is it? Why are you sneaking around? Where's Qin Thirteen? Tell him to hurry up and come out so he can welcome us two brothers. Our master will also grace him with his presence today, so tell him to make the necessary preparations!" The junior brother was called Lu Yi. He was also Elder Qiu's disciple, but he wasn't a true disciple, hence he was far below his senior brother in standing.
Ole Mo started bawling. "My lords, Sectmaster Qin… He can no longer welcome the two of you. You came a moment too late!"
"What?" The senior brother, Zhao Mang, frowned. As a true disciple of the Empyrean River Palace, his position was extremely high amongst Elder Qiu's followers, and he held far greater weight in Elder Qiu's heart than a so-called distant nephew like Qin Thirteen.
"A woman came to the Tree Spirit Sect today. She rampaged her way through the mountains and slaughtered Sectmaster Qin, along with many other brothers!" Ole Mo sobbed. "That women is terrible. I don't know what evil treasure she used, but heads rolled on the floor as soon as I saw a flash of light…"
"What? Qin Thirteen is dead?" Lu Yi's brows rose in surprise. "Ole Mo, what the hell are you saying? Is there anyone who can kill him in this damn backwater?"
"My lord, this Ole Mo isn't brave enough to lie to your exalted selves! Judging from her bearing, that woman isn't a local cultivator. Sectmaster Qin tried to pry information out of her, but there was something very off about her. Even the Empyrean River Palace was unfamiliar to her."
"Nonsense." These words infuriated Lu Yi. "Did you believe her just because she said that?"
Zhao Mang waved him off. "Junior brother Lu, don't get overexcited and listen to what he has to say."
"Go on, Ole Mo. Tell us all the details. Don't be evasive and don't even think about concealing anything," Zhao Mang calmly laid out.
In spite of his fear, Ole Mo stammered out a recounting, narrating everything from beginning to end.
Zhao Mang frowned when he heard the entire story. "A beautiful young woman? She fought Qin Thirteen to a standstill at first? If so, she doesn't sound like a genius from a great sect."
As one of them himself, Zhao Mang was aware of how strong one of such geniuses were. If she was merely even with a fifth level sage realm like Qin Thirteen, it would be impossible for her to be a true disciple in a first rank sect despite her passable cultivation.
If not a true disciple of a first rank sect, how would she be so contemptuous in front of his Empyrean River Palace? Or say she'd never heard of the faction? A genius from a small sect would never dare utter these words even if they had ten times the courage.
"Can it be an enemy sect? Is that why she humiliated us on purpose?" Lu Yi voiced his own conjecture.
Zhao Mang pondered for a moment, but couldn't come to a definite conclusion.
"Ole Mo, lead the way, let's go take a look." As a bold and adventurous man, rather than being paralyzed by fear, Zhao Mang was keen to get to the bottom of the matter.
The old man's expression exposed his reluctance. "My lords, that woman isn't gone yet. She's still inside sect grounds as we speak. If we go there now, it'll be impossible for us to avoid her."
"What are you afraid of?" Lu Yi erupted with indignation. "With my senior brother here, why would we be afraid of fighting against a nameless woman? Not to mention that my master will also arrive soon."
Ole Mo's anxiety finally abated somewhat when he heard of Elder Qiu's imminent arrival. But now, he worried whether the elder would take anger out on him when the elder learned of Qin Thirteen's death. He couldn't extricate himself from this hesitation.
"You're not going?" Zhao Mang asked with a faint smile.
Ole Mo prostrated himself, repeatedly knocking his forehead on the ground. "My lord, I'm not as brave as you and don't dare go back. If my lords want to go there, I can tell you the way or even draw you a map if you wish."
Zhao Mang nodded. "You can leave in that case. We naturally have our own ways of finding a trivial Precious Tree Sect."
Ole Mo almost thought his ears weren't functioning. Glancing up, he saw the tranquil look on Zhao Mang's face, as if the latter was really willing to let him go.
"Many thanks, my lord." Ole Mo scrambled away, trying to leave.
An icy glint flashing in his eyes, Zhao Mang thrust a sudden palm into the void, the blow as heavy as a hammer. Ole Mo flew straight into the air, dropping back down in a rather spectacular posture, a big hole pummelled through his body. He was dead as a mackerel.
Without batting an eye, Zhao Mang told his companion, "Let's go."
Lu Yi chuckled and spat on the ground. "Hehe, this guy really didn't know how to appreciate kindness. As Qin Thirteen's man, he let his master die while escaping himself, then dared to haggle with us? He was really looking to die!"
Zhao Mang offered no reply, his thoughts already on the Precious Tree Sect. He'd arrived in advance at the command of his master, but he hadn't expected to happen upon such a situation. He was well aware his master cared very much about this place. The elder had specially dispatched a distant nephew to gather some men and pick up the pieces, setting up a local base in Myriad Domain for the Empyrean River Palace.
But no one foresaw that someone would destroy this so-called Tree Spirit Sect a mere few years later, killing Qin Thirteen in the process.
"Senior brother, who do you think she might be? Someone who has no scruples killing even after hearing our sect's name must be a remarkable figure. Even if it's a girl, it must be a fierce girl who's not easy to deal with."
Zhao Mang tuned out Lu Yi's prattling. It didn't matter to him where she came from or who she was. She was barely strong enough to fight Qin Thirteen to a standstill and had to rely on a heaven defying treasure to kill him. Why would he dread that sort of strength?
She had a treasure, but as a true disciple of the Empyrean River Palace, would he be without his own treasures? For that reason, he didn't take her too seriously. The only thorny issue was the death of his master's nephew. Although his master Elder Qiu might not be very close with his distant kin, Qin Thirteen was nonetheless the master's blood relative.
Zhao Mang could only imagine his master's wrath when he learned of what had transpired. He might even blame his disciple from being too slow and too late to prevent Qin Thirteen's death and the Tree Spirit Sect's destruction. The only thing he could do now was to hurry there, apprehend the killer, and hand her over for his master to handle.
Zhao Mang hastened his steps, afraid the killer might have left.
Dan Fei looked for clues in every nook and cranny of the Precious Tree Sect, but to her chagrin, her efforts ended up fruitless yet again.
"It seems the Precious Tree Sect's departure was so sudden that they didn't leave any clues behind," Dan Fei concluded.
At this moment, two very aggressive streams of air shot from the sky and blew her way. They contained very invasive strands of consciousness. The streams shot inside the Precious Tree Sect, sweeping back and forth across the mountains.
Dan Fei found herself very averse to this sort of untoward action.
"Whoever killed Qin Thirteen, step forward!" A rumbling voice sounded from outside the sect. It naturally belonged to Zhao Mang.
Lu Yi also shouted, "Wench, come out and let my Empyrean River Palace have a look at you. Do you have three heads and six arms? You must be amazing if you dare make a move against my sect's subordinates!"
Men from the Empyrean River Palace? Dan Fei was rather surprised. She hadn't expected them to come so quickly.
Just as she was about to respond, two formidable gusts of wind rumbled down from the sky. With a bang, they crashed into a mountain peak, the enormous impact shaving off a part of the top.