Things didn’t go exactly according to plan, but they went close enough. Puppers and Durandal were able to defeat a quasi-immortal by themselves—which was surprising. The phoenix was a lot stronger than expected too, able to hold off Old Hei alone. Lucia only has to fight with Old Bai, and it seems like Old Bai can’t do much with his disciple held hostage.
If I were Old Bai, what would I do to solve this problem of my sect suddenly collapsing? I can only think of a few solutions. First, the most practical solution would be to have a formation underneath the sect that explodes, killing everyone and everything in the sect. That way, if someone wants to invade, they have to think twice about doing it. However, the only way for this method to work is if the invading force knows about said formation, and the first thing—or maybe second thing—I did while planning this attack was check if there was one. There isn’t.
The next solution is to call out the sect’s guardian beast. Like Lucia has her phoenix, the Holy Beasts Sect definitely has either a tiger, tortoise, bird, or dragon. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, information was leaked about their guardian beast while a sect member was drunk. It’s a black tortoise, but it’s away from the sect. Apparently, it got into a fierce fight with a cursed beast, as the drunkard described it, eight years ago, and it fled to recuperate in an unknown location. As for why there aren’t other guardian beasts, well, I’m not quite sure. I suspect they’re able to skip quasi-immortality completely to become immortals right away, but the point is, the Holy Beasts Sect is severely lacking in holy beasts.
The best solution I can think of is calling an immortal for help. Jin Mo might’ve said immortals tend not to make moves for various reasons, but if an immortal squished Lucia right now, the balance would rapidly tilt in the Holy Beasts Sect’s favor. Luckily, I’ve prepared for this, and the immortal from Pill Valley should prevent something like that from happening.
With all of these solutions unviable, there’s only one route left for Old Bai: negotiation with Lucia. However, negotiation only works if the power balance between the two sides are relatively even, but that’s not the case here. As long as the four quasi-immortals are suppressed, the rest of the sect is doomed. If Old Bai chooses to negotiate, it’s the same thing as surrendering.
There was something in that shout that caused everyone to pause. There were only two words, but everything fell still after they were said.
“We, the Holy Beasts Sect, surrender!”
I thought it was silent before, but it’s even quieter now. Then, everyone started shouting at once. I couldn’t even make out individual words. Honestly, I already knew surrender was their best choice, but I didn’t think Old Bai would announce it so soon. I thought I’d have to fire the anti-Lucia cannons a few times at critical moments to crush their hopes. Since they’re surrendering, I feel a little regret that I couldn’t use my cannons fully. Not that I wanted people to die. I just wanted some footage of them in action, so I could market them to other sects better. What better advertisement could there be? Too bad I missed my chance; firing into a crowd of people who’ve surrendered might bring about a second wind and the fight could resume, resulting in losses of my bodyguards. …Would I make more money from selling the cannons than I’d lose from bodyguards dying?
“Silence! My decision is final!”
That settles it then. We’ve won. It’s not too surprising; Lucia is ridiculously strong. These quasi-immortals from the Holy Beasts Sect might be as strong as four to five rogue quasi-immortals, but one Lucia—and two weapon spirits and a phoenix—were equivalent to three sect quasi-immortals. Maybe not equivalent, she should be a little stronger; otherwise, they wouldn’t have surrendered so quickly. Anyways, I think it’s time for me to show my face for the negotiations. If I don’t, Lucia would probably ask for something stupid like acorns. I’ll teleport over to the boat since things seem peaceful now.
“—all of your caramel! Every single barrel, bucket, and bowl of caramel you have!”
Okay, I was pretty close. Lucia wants something stupid like caramel. Odd. We won, but why do I get the feeling that I’m forgetting something? Something ominous. Does the Holy Beasts Sect have a hidden trump card they’re about to pull out?
“Ilya! You! Wait, is that really you…? Mm, yeah, that’s you. You big bully!”
That’s what I forgot. I ended up over here at the Holy Beasts Sect because I was running away from Lucia. “Hello, Lucia. Long time no see. Have you been well?”
Lucia stood inches away from me with chattering teeth. She was mumbling something too, and her tail was swishing back and forth. It looked like she had dozens of ways to eat me inside her head but couldn’t figure out which method to use. If I back away or flinch right now, I’m sure she’ll pounce on me. I know I basically told her I never wanted to see her again because she’s mean and violent, but she’s not holding too big of a grudge for that, right? “Lucia? What are you thinking about?”
“I thought up a bunch of mean things I was going to do to you once I caught you, but I can’t remember which one I wanted to do first. Hold on.”
…Great. Well, as long as I don’t die, I’m sure the immortal from Pill Valley can fix me no matter how badly I’m damaged. “Before you do that—”
“I said hold on!”
…Alrighty then. I’ll just directly negotiate with Old Bai while Lucia’s still thinking. “Hello, you must be Old Bai, the hero of your generation. I’m Ilya Pentorn.”
Old Bai frowned at me and looked behind himself at the severed head sitting atop a severed body. Old Hong glared at me, and I grabbed the immortal fox eye necklace that Lucia was wearing just in case she decided to get revenge with a spiritual attack. Even as a severed head, Old Hong could probably kill someone with a single glance. “That’s Ilya Pentorn, someone from Pill Valley who invaded our sect earlier. She’s the one who damaged the killing formation.”
Old Bai’s face darkened. “Pill Valley works with squirrels?”
“If by Pill Valley you mean me and if by squirrel you mean her, then yes, Pill Valley indeed does work with squirrels.”
“What do you want?”
“I’m here to—ow!” Lucia’s biting my head! “Lucia! What are you doing!? Can’t you see I’m busy here!?”
“I don’t care!” Lucia stopped biting me for a second just to say those three words. Luckily, I was able to activate my cultivation technique that turned pain into pleasure with that second of respite. “You deserve to be punished for being such a bully! Isn’t that right, Softie?”
Softie’s here? Why didn’t I see her?
“Softie?” Lucia let go of me, and I turned around to see her crouching next to someone lying on the deck. “Hey, wake up. Didn’t you say cultivators didn’t need much sleep? Why are you napping now?”
Old Hong snorted. “She’s dead. She sacrificed herself to give your weapon spirits a chance to restrain me.”
“Dead? No way, that can’t be. Hey, Softie, wake up. Softie…? The sun’s out; you should wake up now. …Softie?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter