Chapter 203: The Audience’s Surprise, Crescentfell Sect’s End

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Having forged ahead for slightly over five minutes, and after ensuring that they were a good distance away from the annoying, abrasive disciples from the Crescentfell Sect, Chen Feiyu turned around and addressed the Heavenly Peak disciples, “Everyone has worked hard earlier. Let’s take a break and adjust our conditions.”

Several disciples revealed a slightly relieved expression on their face, and they began to look about at their surroundings and pick out a good spot to take a break at.

The Heavenly Peak disciples had expended a fair amount of energy disposing of the Sand Scorpions earlier. Now that the moment of danger was over, they would be wise to take some time to rest and recover to prepare for the road ahead.

Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows as she looked at the ground below. She stamped on it, and she discovered that whilst the ground here was slightly softer, it was still relatively firm compared with the rest of the marshlands.

She still had her reservations about their current location. At the very least, from the current clues that she had gleaned from her surroundings, she knew that they had not arrived at the safest possible place.

Thus, Jun Xiaomo walked up to Chen Feiyu and informed him of her own views.

“A monarch-grade spirit beast with earth-based spiritual roots?” Chen Feiyu immediately furrowed his brows. He had heard of such monarch-grade beasts before, but hearing was hardly the same as seeing, much less appreciating the extent of what these monarch-grade beasts could do.

“That’s right. It could even be a monarch-grade demonic beast.” Jun Xiaomo explained earnestly, “If my guess isn’t wrong, this entire place should have been a patch of marshlands, and it had only become what it is now because of this monarch-grade beast. As to why I say this is a monarch-grade beast…” Jun Xiaomo chuckled bitterly, “Apart from a monarch-grade beast, I really don’t know any other type of spirit or demonic beast that possess the ability to transform a piece of land of such magnitude to an environment of its own liking.”

“I see. Since that’s the case, we mustn’t tarry any further. It would be prudent to leave this place as soon as possible.” Chen Feiyu immediately made his resolve and announced his decision to the other Heavenly Peak disciples.

Even though everyone else was tired from the battle earlier, they still possessed a sense of camaraderie and trust in each other that was far beyond the norm in any other team. Thus, as soon as Chen Feiyu announced the change of plans, everyone clambered up from their resting spots immediately, heeded Jun Xiaomo’s judgment and began to forge ahead, away from the domain of the monarch beast.

Jun Xiaomo smiled to herself. She knew that only the Heavenly Peak disciples could possess such solidarity and trust towards each other that they were willing to heed the observations of a cultivator at the sixth level of Qi Mastery like her.

In particular, they noticed the earnestness in Jun Xiaomo’s eyes, and they chose to believe her words. Furthermore, her conjectures sounded logical, and they knew that it was always better to err on the side of caution.

As soon as Jun Xiaomo made her conjectures known to Chen Feiyu, several members of the audience immediately drew a cold breath –

Jun Xiaomo’s conjectures were far too accurate!

The audience had gasped in shock because just as Jun Xiaomo explained her conjectures to the other disciples, the water screen revealed that the Crescentfell Sect had encountered yet another mishap.

The Crescentfell Sect had been resting and adjusting themselves after the battle with the Sand Scorpions. Just like everybody else, including the members of the audience, the Crescentfell Sect disciples had thought that killing off the group of Sand Scorpions meant that their surroundings were now safe and devoid of any dangers.

Despite that, just as everyone had let their guards down, a massive creature suddenly emerged from the ground with its mouth wide open, instantly swallowing three of the Sand Scorpion’s corpses on the ground.

The Sand Scorpions were enormous creatures to begin with, yet this massive creature had instantly swallowed three of the Sand Scorpions with just one gulp – one could only imagine the magnitude of the massive creature’s gargantuan size.

That massive creature looked slightly longish, and most of its body remained hidden underground. The only thing that was exposed at this point was no more than its head. Its mouth was filled with powerful, incisive teeth, and as it ground up the exoskeleton of the Sand Scorpions, loud, sickening crunches that sounded like breaking bones rang out in the otherwise eerily silent surroundings.

The Crescentfell Sect disciples stared at this horrific sight with gaping mouths. Even their leader, Tang Qiaozhu, found herself completely dumbstruck at this sight.

“Ahh---!” The first female cultivator to return to her senses immediately reacted with a shrill shriek. The gargantuan creature instantly paused, before swishing its head around and gazing straight at the Crescentfell Sect disciples.

If not for the fact that Tang Qiaozhu had earlier directed her team members to rest some distance away from the Sand Scorpions because she found them to be too ugly and smelly, the Crescentfell Sect disciples might already have been swallowed alive by this massive creature by now.

Their fate would have been just like those Sand Scorpion corpses – not a single part of them remained.

But they were hardly optimistic about their present predicament either. The female cultivator’s shriek earlier had drawn the attention of the gargantuan creature, and it had undoubtedly noticed all of the Crescentfell Sect disciples.

Although the Crescentfell Sect disciples did not notice any eyes on this gargantuan creature, the sensation that they got from the creature was unmistakably the one and the same as when a predator had locked its gaze on a prey. A frigid chill went down their spine, and goosebumps crept all over their skins.

Idiot! Tang Qiaozhu swore in her heart at the martial sister who screamed earlier, before turning around as she yelled, “Run!” As she shouted, she turned tail and led the retreat as she began to sprint away from the disgusting and fearsome gargantuan beast that looked like a massive worm.

The other disciples came to their senses a split second later. As soon as they realized what was going on, they immediately scattered in different directions as their hearts trembled in fear and trepidation.

However, there were naturally some disciples who were slow to react, or slow on their feet. The gargantuan creature dove towards the ground of Crescentfell Sect disciples and instantly devoured the female cultivators who were slower than others. Several shrill shrieks rang out again, before the bodies of these female cultivators thoroughly perished in the mouth of this creature.

Moments later, a faint but nauseating blood-stench began to waft out into the surroundings.

Tang Qiaozhu and Luo Tianyi’s legs weakened slightly, but they dared not turn back at all. They continued to run as quickly as their legs would take them under the augmentation of the Windsail Talisman, and they darted forward as far away from the gargantuan creature as they could.

The present Luo Tianyi looked incredibly ashen – her earlier smugness had been completely wiped off her face.

Faced with the tragic demise of the Crescentfell Sect disciples, a large part of the audience couldn’t help but sigh with resignation.

Everyone immediately recalled Jun Xiaomo’s earlier conjectures when the Heavenly Peak disciples had first left the site of battle. If the Crescentfell Sect had just set aside their pride and built a good relationship with the disciples from Heavenly Peak, they might not have ended up in their present plight.

But this thought experiment could only remain as such. After all, what had happened had already happened – how could any amount of regret possibly turn back time?

Several referees among the panel of referees sat there silently as they took in and digested everything that they had just watched.

Truth be told, the fact that the Heavenly Peak and the Crescentfell Sect were teleported to this part of the marshlands was both a good and a bad thing.

It was a good thing because they had encountered the Sand Scorpions as soon as they had arrived on the marshlands, and these two sects were the earliest among all the participating teams to secure points for themselves. At the same time, it was a bad thing because they would meet with a far greater mishap if they were unable to assess the hidden dangers around them, just like what had happened to the Crescentfell Sect. If a team was unable to keep their cool about them when they encountered a strong spirit beast, then there was a good chance that their lives would very much be left in the hands of fate.

Logically speaking, since both the Heavenly Peak disciples and the Crescentfell Sect disciples had joined hands to kill the Sand Scorpions, the referees should have awarded the points in real time in accordance with each sect’s performance and contribution.

However, most referees erred in terms of the points allocated to each sect.

Given that the Crescentfell Sect disciples had already been battling with the Sand Scorpions for a long time before the Heavenly Peak disciples had arrived, some of the referees took the position that the Heavenly Peak did no more than to pick up the scraps from the efforts of the Crescentfell Sect disciples, and the Heavenly Peak disciples should not be awarded too many points in this regard.

Yet there were some other referees who agreed with what Jun Xiaomo had said – if not for her remarkable usage of her Constriction Array which bound all of the Sand Scorpions in place, the Crescentfell Sect disciples would require much more time to be able to defeat the Sand Scorpions.

Since they were not aligned in their opinions, the chief referee decided to resolve their dispute in the fairest possible means – each referee would award these two sects with the points that they think each sect deserves, and the actual points awarded would be the average among all referees present.

Just like that, there were several referees who initially awarded the Crescentfell Sect with substantial points. However, when they noticed the appearance of the gargantuan creature later on, they capitulated on their earlier decision and silently changed the score allocated to the Crescentfell Sect.

One sect was able to display incredible solidarity and trust in each other at all times, while the other scattered like dust at the earliest signs of danger. It did not take a genius to work out which of these sects were more deserving of praise than the other.

Besides, the present competition was called “group battles” for a reason. It was evident that the Heavenly Peak’s display of teamwork fell squarely within the definitions of the group battles.

Thus, everyone was taken slightly aback when the final score for the disposal of the Sand Scorpions was displayed to the audience members.

Heavenly Peak – 30 points, first position; Crescentfell Sect – 20 points, second position.

Of course, this was not the final results. The competition had only just begun, and none of the other sects had even found the opportunity to display their abilities just yet. The present ranking would almost certainly change in no time.

That said, the participants of these group battles would have no way of determining each team’s current standings, or even the number of points allocated to each team. Similarly, Jun Xiaomo and the rest were unaware of the fact that they had just taken the lead in terms of points, much less learn of the Crescentfell Sect’s tragic plight shortly after they departed the scene of battle.

They walked on for quite some time before they found themselves located amidst enormous pools of marshes and swamps. Some of them were even gurgling with bubbles. The soil under their feet had also become soft and muddy.

“Ugh…this place is really smelly…” Wei Gaolang clutched at his nose as he remarked.

Jun Xiaomo patted his head as she responded, “It’ll get better once you get used to it.”

Wei Gaolang was by no means a spoilt kid, and he only found himself slightly nauseated by the smell of the marshlands. Thus, he very quickly adjusted himself to the surrounding conditions and got used to it.

“Xiaomo, what do you think of this place? Everyone’s already tired and weary. Perhaps it might be a good idea to take a break?” Chen Feiyu sought Jun Xiaomo’s opinion.

Everyone had earlier witnessed with their own eyes Jun Xiaomo’s abilities. Despite the fact that Chen Feiyu was the appointed leader of the Heavenly Sect disciples, everyone admired Jun Xiaomo’s abilities and trusted her judgment.

This was particularly so for Chen Feiyu, who somehow got the feeling that Jun Xiaomo was incredibly proficient and adept with her survival skills.

Jun Xiaomo observed her surroundings keenly, before nodding her head, “It should be safe to rest here. Generally speaking, two monarch-grade beasts will not reside within the same domain. Otherwise, they would almost certainly vie with each other for the lion’s share of the territory. This place is not far away from the anomalous place that we had just departed from, and there shouldn’t be many dangers around. Of course, just to be on the safe side, I still think it would be a good idea for us to take turns to rest and recuperate. Those who aren’t resting can stand guard and keep watch of the surroundings so that we can remain alert to any peculiar situations or dangers.”

Chen Feiyu nodded his head as he seconded Jun Xiaomo’s thoughts, “Martial sister Xiaomo is right. Since that’s the case, let’s do as martial sister Xiaomo had suggested. Xiaocheng, Xinji, Jicheng…” Chen Feiyu picked out ten people, “You will rest and recover your energies first. The rest whose names haven’t been called shall stand guard and watch our surroundings with me so that we can remain vigilant.”

“Yes, martial brother Chen!” Everyone responded in unison. Then, in accordance with his instructions, some sat around in meditation, while others stood around and kept watch at their surroundings vigilantly.

Jun Xiaomo and Wei Gaolang were both delegated the task of standing guard first. In order to consolidate and increase their defensive abilities, Jun Xiaomo even took it upon herself to scatter some powder around to repel spiritual beasts, as well as set up several defensive formation arrays in the surrounding before returning to their resting grounds.

Wei Gaolang watched on as Jun Xiaomo busied herself. Then when she was finally done, he walked up to Jun Xiaomo and exclaimed to her, “Martial sister, you’re truly amazing, you know that? You know formation arrays, talismans, and you’ve even got a wealth of combat experience under your belt. How in the world do you do it?”

Wei Gaolang asked with a glint in his eyes.

Jun Xiaomo was momentarily taken aback, before she chuckled helplessly as she responded, “How else do you do it? Everything is based on the accumulation of experience.”

“But…martial sister Xiaomo is only two years older than me, yet you know so much more than I do…you make me feel rather useless…” Wei Gaolang hugged his knee and rested his chin on it as he murmured, “I’ve even almost placed everyone in danger earlier. If not for my recklessness you wouldn’t have bothered to rescue those ingrates earlier.”

Jun Xiaomo smiled genially. She tousled Wei Gaolang hair as she replied, “Then start accumulating experience right now. Make your martial sister or your other martial brothers your goal and aim to gain some experience every day. It suffices that each day, you make yourself better than yourself yesterday. It’s going to be a long and lonely process, but you’ll get there as long as you persevere and keep your eyes on your goals.”

If not for the fact that she had been reborn, she would not have been far better than Wei Gaolang’s current state of inexperience.

“I know. I’ve been too mischievous in the past, always shirking my cultivation responsibilities.” Wei Gaolang lifted his head and stared at Jun Xiaomo with resolution in his eyes, “Martial sister, I’m going to focus on my cultivation in the future! I’m not going to be a burden to all of you anymore!”

Jun Xiaomo chuckled. She believed that after today, her little martial brother would experience a qualitative change to his character and personality.

“Oh yes, martial sister.” Wei Gaolang thought about it before asking hesitantly, “Does this mean that whenever we encounter someone from another sect, we won’t rescue them anymore?”

Jun Xiaomo raised her eyebrow quizzically, before responding with another question, “What do you think? Do you think we should save them?”

Wei Gaolang furrowed his brows with some measure of distress, “I think I would be infuriated if a repeat of today occurred again. But then again, I don’t think the disciples from every other sect would behave in the same way as the disciples of the Crescentfell Sect…right?”

As he drew towards the end of his response, Wei Gaolang became increasingly uncertain of his response.

Jun Xiaomo nodded her head, affirming his response, “That’s right. Not every sect would repay good with evil like those disciples of the Crescentfell Sect. Furthermore, every sect has its fair share of good guys and bad guys.”

“Then what do we do? It wouldn’t be too good to stand idly by the side and watch others perish in danger as well, right?” Wei Gaolang scratched his head.

Wei Gaolang had always had a kind heart. In fact, the reason why he had motioned to rush into the fray was not only because the person in danger was the goddess in his heart, it was also because he could not stand idly by and watch someone get eaten by a Sand Scorpion.

That said, Wei Gaolang had earlier slightly overreacted. Even if none of them had rushed into the fray, the disciples of the Crescentfell Sect would not be in any danger of life and limb at all.

“Actually, the answer you seek is buried within your own question, isn’t it?” Jun Xiaomo chuckled as she responded enigmatically.

“Haa--?!” Wei Gaolang widened his eyes – Have I answered my own question? How come I still don’t know it?!

“In other words…you have to use different approaches when dealing with different people.” Jun Xiaomo smiled radiantly as she spoke.

“Martial sister, that answer is as good as none…” Wei Gaolang murmured in dismay. How was he going to distinguish who was good and who was evil?

Jun Xiaomo patted his arm, before she suggested, “How about…next time we encounter someone in trouble, we’ll let little martial brother decide whether to save them or not.”

“Haa--?!” Wei Gaolang’s eyes widened even more, “Martial sister! How can you do this?!”

Jun Xiaomo raised an eyebrow quizzically, “Why not? This is a prime opportunity to learn and develop some life skills.”

Chen Feiyu happened to pass by at this moment, and he overheard the latest exchange between Jun Xiaomo and Wei Gaolang.

A trace of bemusement flashed across his eyes, before he sternly nodded his head in affirmation, “I think that’s a pretty good idea. It’s about time that martial brother Wei learns to distinguish and navigate the complex nuances of human nature.”

Wei Gaolang suddenly felt as though there were two heavy mountains pressing on his shoulders, and his tender face scrunched up like a crumpled bitter gourd as he chuckled bitterly to himself.

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