The puddle of blood spread wider as Mingchun’s two halves sank to the bottom.
“He’s dead…” An ancestor dropped on the ground and murmured.
Jianyao and the saber saint were stunned too, especially the latter. He had tasted Li Qiye’s power earlier and felt suffocated.
Though they were already aware that Mingchun wouldn’t be able to take on Li Qiye, for him to die to a single kick was something they never expected.
The saber saint felt cold all over and needed to compose himself. Li Qiye didn’t only show mercy earlier; the guy was being extremely charitable towards him.
Mingchun was a real Eternal, far more powerful than him. If Li Qiye wanted to kill him, the guy could do so in a split second and he wouldn’t even have the chance to fight back.
Cold sweats started to run; he had just been to hell and back without knowing it. His life was dependent on a single whim of Li Qiye earlier.
Jianyao was slightly pale. Her dao heart has always been tough, allowing her to stay calm regardless of the situation. However, his dominating power made her hair stand on end.
She remembered how he always referred to people as ants. Prior to this, she felt that he was still being arrogant. Now, it seemed that this was the truth.
Even her powerful sect only consisted of ants in his eyes. It would be too simple for him to destroy them.
She began contemplating his seemingly preposterous acts in the past resulting in him losing the throne. What was the reason for this? He was more than capable to rule the world.
She came up with a ridiculous answer - that he was just playing around! All of this was to cure his boredom.
All of Nine Secrets and its inhabitants were only puppets. When he was in a bad mood, he would play around with them. Otherwise, he would ignore or destroy everything.
It was the same as watching an ant nest. It could be entertaining or he could just throw a torch down and burn all the ants to ashes.
Jianyao had a deeper understanding of this matter than anyone else and it left her horrified. This was a being who could easily destroy all of Nine Secrets. She needed to take a deep breath to calm down.
“Splash!” The lake splashed causing everyone to look over.
“It’s Ma Mingchun.” A spectator shouted.
Sure enough, Ma Mingchun’s two halves have come together again without any visible scar.
An Eternal was strong enough to survive the dismemberment. Of course, he still paid a heavy price. He was trembling all over, completely white. Just getting up again required all of his strength.
Fixing his body and stabilizing his wounds required an inordinate amount of true energy.
“Oh? Not bad.” Li Qiye smiled lightly after seeing the guy. This development was no big deal to him.
Mingchun calmed his emotions and his trembling body. He found himself utterly exhausted.
“Still alive at least.” The spectators heaved a sigh of relief, finding this to be a cause for celebration.
In the past, it was amazing if someone could withstand a blow from him. Now, it was extraordinary for him to survive a move from the king.
“Yeah, he still made it past one move.” The ancestors smiled bitterly, not knowing whether to be happy or wallow in despair.
This gave a sliver of hope for the other masters. If Ma Mingchun couldn’t even handle one kick, true despair would swallow all of them.
Li Qiye asked with a smile: “Will you kneel and surrender, try to run, or drown yourself?”
The acrimonious statement showed no mercy - telling an Eternal to drown himself?
Of course, Li Qiye could say whatever he wanted to right now and be justified in doing so. This was the privilege of having a bigger fist.
All eyes were on Mingchun, eagerly waiting for his choice. Some put themselves in his shoes and thought about their choices.
In fact, they sympathized even if he chose to surrender or run due to the powerful enemy. This was perfectly normal; no one would mock his action since they might already be on their knees to beg Li Qiye for mercy already.
“One of us will die today!” However, Mingchun stood straight with a fierce glare, not losing the temperament of an Eternal despite being quite feeble.
He didn’t beg for mercy or shaking with fear. Instead, he arched his chest proudly to face Li Qiye, still as aggressive as before.
This earned him the admiration of the crowd. An Eternal was special indeed. Such courage and determination were beyond them.
“Oh? Still got more moves to show? I’m waiting then to see how strong they are.” Li Qiye said with both hands behind his back.
No one expected Mingchun to still want to fight under these circumstances. They became quite curious about his hidden cards.
“Go!” He shouted with a cry akin to sudden thunder during spring. The soundwave echoed across Nine-linked Mountains.
“Rustle.” Figures popped up in each peak and mountain in this sect with waving banners.
Perhaps more than one million men appeared in these high places in just a short time.
“The Central Legion…” A spectator immediately saw the hint.
“I thought they took camp outside?” Someone leaped up to a high vantage point and looked outside of Nine-linked Mountains. They saw the camp still there with patrolling soldiers.
“It’s the empty-city strategy.” An older expert gently sighed and said: “That camp is only a ruse, looks like the soldiers have somehow managed to infiltrate the mountain range. Tang Hexiang came up with a good plan.” 
Prior to this, Mingchun had arrived furiously and demanded Nine-linked Mountains to hand over Li Qiye. However, under the advice of Hexiang, he decided to camp outside.
Now people finally realized that the entire camp was a farce. The two of them must have planned to bring their army inside.
“That’s one of the strongest legions for you, marching so silently. No wonder why so many lineages are afraid of them.” A commenter said with surprise.
Perhaps Nine-linked Mountains didn’t care about the intruders, but it was indeed impressive for them to sneak in like this.
“Are they forming a formation?” An expert could see an array forming with the soldiers being on top of the various peaks all around the mountain range.
1. Empty-city is from The Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang versus Sima Yi. His city was under siege but Zhuge Liang opened the gate, just playing his zither in full view. Sima Yi became skeptical about potential ambushes and decided to retreat. There were no ambushes.