The crowd had no response for they were fixated on the corpses.
“Fuck this, run!” Finally, a few couldn’t handle this atmosphere and turned to flee.
“Go, go!” They forgot all about reputation and face. All leaped backward and began to run.
“Whoosh! Whoosh!” Unfortunately, the statues threw their incomparable sharp spears towards the fleeing geniuses.
“Ah! Ah!...” Blood and screams filled the air. These geniuses were pierced through the chest, leaving a gaping wound. They fell to the ground, no longer able to get back up or move for it was death.
“We can’t run…” The exits were all blocked by the stone guards.
“Leaping to the sky would result in becoming a target practice!” An older expert shouted.
The youths who wanted to keep on trying stabilized their stance.
“Rumble!” Next, the guards blocking the exits started marching towards them. Their spears flashed with a frightening glint.
The crowd had no choice but to walk backward, eventually being forced to the base of the steps closer to Li Qiye.
“What should we do now?” The youths lost all sense of agency and had to ask the older cultivators.
Unfortunately, even the ancestors present were helpless right now. These stone guards were unbelievably strong. Working together still wouldn’t amount to anything.
“What else can you do?” Li Qiye smiled on his throne: “Just kneel and vow loyalty and devotion to me, there’s no other choice. If I get in a good mood, perhaps I will spare your lives.”
His words seemed to be a message from above, guiding everyone towards the light. They started glancing at each other.
“Long live the king, long live the king!” A young cultivator couldn’t handle the pressure. His legs grew weak so he prostrated on the ground and: “His Majesty is invincible! Your servant was as ignorant as a frog inside a well, please spare me!”
A few people broke down after seeing the first. More dropped to their knees: “Long live the king, may your reign lasts for an eternity!”
The majority of the crowd competed to get on the ground while chanting the same thing: “Your Majesty will be eternal, a blessing for the citizens, please show mercy towards your servants!”
No one wanted to be the last one standing because it might invoke the wrath of the king and their head might fall on the ground.
None dared to stand up before given permission. They prostrated nervously, awaiting his decision.
“Looks like your bones aren’t as tough as you think.” Li Qiye looked at the crowd and chuckled: “See, it’s not that hard to kneel, is it?”
The crowd felt their face becoming hot. They were kneeling before the guy they considered to be a piece of trash to be stomped on earlier, that he wasn’t worthy to participate in this party. Now, they were obediently prostrating, stricken with fear.
This swift change took them like a storm. Their pride and arrogance all dissipated since the goal was now to please the guy so that he would show mercy. Everything was worthless compared to being alive.
“What should I do now? A competition? Maybe one to see who can flatter me the most? The ones that don’t do a good job will be decapitated?” Li Qiye smirked.
The kneelers turned pale. Li Qiye was deliberately stomping on their pride!
“Your Majesty, please spare them.” Liu Chuqing stared at the crowd and quietly spoke for them.
Li Qiye looked at her and sighed before stroking her hair: “Silly girl, I can’t say no to you even if I have a heart of iron.”
She turned red after hearing such sweet words in public, feeling very happy inside.
“How boring, killing these fools will only stain my hand.” Li Qiye lazily turned towards the crowd and said.
The dreadful crowd could finally breathe after hearing this.
“Bam!” He suddenly smashed down on his throne.
“Creak-” The two peaks behind him actually started moving, revealing gap with a stone box inside.
He opened it and unleashed rippling waves of light. It looked as if the box contained a type of immortal water.
The ones on the ground knew that this must be an incredible treasure but none dared to make a sound.
He closed the box and said flatly: “This platform isn’t only meant for ceremonies and the statues aren’t here as only decorations. They’re protecting this place.”
Having said that, he put away the box and stood up: “How boring.”
Chuqing held his arm and the two of them walked down the steps.
The ones kneeling on the ground stopped breathing and didn’t dare to lift their head. Those in the way started crawling to the side to make a path.
Li Qiye glanced emotionlessly at them before speaking: “It is not because I’m merciful that you’re alive but because this girl is too kind, that’s why I’m sparing your dog lives! You should know who to thank.”
“The Lady is benevolent, a shining symbol of virtue!” The crowd started chanting. 
Chuqing could only see her feet right now from being so shy. Of course, she was very pleased with being called “The Lady” since it confirms her status.
Li Qiye smiled and left with her, no longer giving a damn about the group.
“Boom!” After he was long gone, the guards returned to their initial position while holding their spears.
When the group was certain that Li Qiye was gone, they finally slowly get up.
Everyone looked astounded; no one knew what to say.
In the end, they didn’t even bother talking and left in groups. Today was too humiliating since they threw away their pride and got on their knees because of fear.
Southpeak Woodcutter took Li Qiye and Liu Chuqing back to the shore. He watched them leave while lighting up his pipe: “It’s a fortune that she is there to warm his heart or Nine Secrets will be done for. The world is nothing to him. At the end of the game, he doesn’t mind throwing the chessboard away.”
Cold sweats started running down his spine after imagining the destruction of Nine Secrets. He started thanking Liu Chuqing in his mind.
1. These are common chants found in historical books/dramas. It might sound random/out of place in English like other ceremonial phrases
“Sigh, looks like I’m still not that good as being a tyrant.” Li Qiye shook his head: “A real tyrant would be drinking blood and eating human flesh. After all, don’t all of you wish to do the same thing while hating me? Gotta keep trying, I suppose.”