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It was similar to hay being burned. The fire crazily intensified and seemed impossible to extinguish. Everyone held their breath, aware that this was the time when the insects would come out. This was a harvest season of sorts, just not their harvest.

The grasses would burn every once in a while. During this process. The Winterfire Insects hiding deep below would come out and devour the fire essences of the grasses to empower themselves. That would be the best time to capture them.

It didn’t take long before the grasses all became ashes, leaving behind only the soil.

“This is it.” Someone murmured.

“Start digging.” Wu Lian ordered the disciples from his clan.

They instantly started digging up the ground in order to find the insects.

“You’re not starting?” Wu Lian looked around and sneered at Li Qiye and Song Yuhao.

“No rush, you first.” Li Qiye smiled back.

Wu Lian grinned and coldly said: “Enjoy this moment because a bit later, you’ll be eating all the mud here.”

“We’ll just see about that.” Li chuckled.

Wu Lian was quite annoyed at the constant rebuttal and glared angrily at Li Qiye.

Yuhao was horrified and pulled Li Qiye’s sleeve, signaling him to back down.

“Faster, I want to see them swallow the mud.” Wu Lian shouted at his group.

Loud rustling noises continued as they dug out the whole area but not a single insect could be found.

“Young Lord, there’s none.” A disciple reported.

Wu Lian’s expression changed as he yelled: “How can this be? You all didn’t dig deep enough then, keep going, flip the ground over and bring me these insects.”

The disciples had no choice but to keep going. The pits grew larger and deeper but no insects could be found.

“This doesn’t make sense.” The spectators were perplexed.

One said: “Just three inches should be enough to see them, but they went much deeper now and found none.”

This has never happened before to the crowd’s astonishment. These insects would always come up to devour the fire essences of the grasses. Wu Lian seized the entire field but couldn’t obtain a single one.

“Keep going then, three thousand feet or whatever, get me those damn insects.” His expression turned unsightly as he screamed off the top of his lung.

He had made a strong bet earlier so there was no backing down.

“Our turn.” Li Qiye leisurely said after seeing the failure of the other group.

The crowd’s attention darted towards him. They didn’t believe that he could find the insects since Wu Lian’s field was hundreds of times bigger versus their corner plot and its few blades of grasses.

There was no way the insects would ignore the large field for these random grasses on this side.

Wu Lian scowled: “My several hundred plots got nothing, so stop daydreaming. Start eating now and I’ll spare you from eating the entire field after we find some.”

“Don’t be so sure now.” Li Qiye remained nonchalant: “We’ll see who will be the last one smiling.”

He pointed at the old tree after saying this, sending it back to his fate palace. The tree had begrudgingly obeyed while thinking that it was a waste of its talents so it didn’t wish to stay out any longer.

The incomplete tree was completely inconspicuous. No one recognized it either in this place.

The truth was that in all of Three Immortals, few could understand its magical properties. Even regular ancestors couldn’t recognize it, let alone these ordinary experts.

After recalling the tree, he told Yuhao: “Start digging.”

“We’re really doing it?” Yuhao lacked confidence after seeing no insect in that entire field. Their tiny plot shouldn’t have attracted any insect, just like Wu Lian had said.

“Do what I say.” Li Qiye demanded.

Yuhao had no choice but to pick up a hoe and started digging. He could already see himself eating the mud, feeling quite sorry for being dragged into this mess but it was too late to do anything about it.

“Ignorant fools.” Wu Lian saw Yuhao still trying to dig and said: “Wait till I find some, I’ll make you swallow all the soil here.”

His eyes flashed with a frightening murderous intent. No one was allowed to disrespect their Everlasting Kingdom in this system.

A while after Yuhao’s effort, a spark came out of the ground, as bright as a hidden treasure.

He seemed to be struck by lightning, jolted and drowned with excitement as he started digging even harder.

”What is that?” The fiery spark attracted everyone’s attention.

He finished digging a large pit, finding fiery balls the size of a face-washing basin within and picked one up.

Upon careful inspections, they were actually fiery insects resembling silkworms, just much longer. They squeezed together and formed circles as if something was attracting them. That’s why they looked like fiery balls at first sight.

“That’s, that’s Winterfire insects…” Someone shouted.

“So many, must be more than one thousand!” Another guessed.

“I can’t believe it.” The spectators were amazed. It was impossible for so many insects to gather at this small plot.

“Even this entire field can’t produce so many Winterfire Insects.” An experienced alchemist chimed in: “It’s almost a miracle to find so many below that small plot.

The crowd looked at Li Qiye with strange gazes, wondering how he knew there were insects below. The people here naturally didn’t know that the old tree was a peerless immortal medicine. Wherever it was, it could definitely attract a bunch of Winterfire Insects, causing them to squeeze together. Thus, the real attraction in the small plot was the tree, not the sparse Firehawk Grasses.

“Yes, they’re really Winterfire Insects, my mother is saved!” Song Yuhao held the ball of insects with both hands while emotionally trembling with tears.

He gathered his wits and picked out a few insects before leaving the ball in front of Li Qiye: “Young Noble, I only ask for six to prolong my mother’s life, the rest is yours.”

Li Qiye didn’t bother looking at the insects: “Consider it a gift, I have no use for them.”

“What? No, I can’t take them, they’re, they’re too precious…” Yuhao stuttered, still not fully composed.

“Just do what I say.” Li Qiye asserted.

This event came too sudden for Yuhao so he was left in a daze. He risked his life to come to this area for these insects in order to save his mother. Just obtaining a few was more than he could ask for, but this guy had just given him more than one thousand.

Others felt the same way. Li Qiye was being too generous. These insects were relatively pricey, and one thousand of them was a fair amount of money. Plus, he was giving it to a stranger on top of that without any hesitation. Truly unbelievable.

“Young Noble, I will forever remember your kindness and will work like an ox for you.” Tears finally streamed down his cheeks as he kneeled and bowed his head.

Li Qiye accepted the grand gesture before waving his sleeve: “Stand up.”

Yuhao got up and stood to the side, carving this act of generosity into his memories.

Wu Lian, on the other hand, had an unsightly expression. They still couldn’t find a single one but Li Qiye’s group found so many. The winner of the bet was as clear as day.

“Time to eat all the soil here, right?” Li Qiye casually remarked while staring at Wu Lian.

Wu Lian turned red then white, completely awkward. He decided to go tough: “We’re not done digging yet, what’s the hurry!?”

“Okay, I’m a patient man anyway but remember to do it in a bit or I’ll force it down your throat.” Li Qiye said with a smile.

“Go, dig everywhere, find these insects for me!” Wu Lian shouted at his fellow disciples.

Everyone could see who was the winner. Even if Wu Lian were to dig three thousand feet below, he wouldn’t be able to find as many as Li Qiye.

The disciples tried and tried, completely futile. Not even a shadow of one could be found. The only thing clearly visible was the ugly expression on Wu Lian’s face.

“It’s over.” A spectator murmured.

“Right, at least lose with grace when you’re betting. This is throwing away the reputation of Everlasting.” Some were already unhappy with him so they started jeering and sneering.

Wu Lian was certainly affected but there was no way to get out of this.

“It’s about time, eat up already.” Li Qiye demanded again.

The Wu disciples had dug out a huge pit, so the soil taken from the ground was the size of a small mountain now.

Wu Lian retorted and decided to play dirty: “Time? We didn’t specify the time. It can be one day, one year, or even a hundred years! Our bet isn’t over until I see some insects!”

“Just be straight and say that you can’t handle losing such a little bet. A loser like you still dare to call yourself a disciple of Everlasting? You’re throwing away its reputation, but I guess this reputation is crap already anyway since it groomed someone like you.” Li Qiye sneered.

Wu Lian angrily shouted back: “Brat, you can insult me, but not our kingdom! Doing so will end in an irreconcilable feud!”

Everyone knew that he wanted to change the topic and push a crime onto Li Qiye. All eyes were on Li Qiye now. A wise person would know to back off because this particular crime was indeed a big deal.

No one wanted to antagonize a behemoth in Everlasting. Nothing good would come of it.

“So what if I’m insulting Everlasting?” Li Qiye didn’t damn a damn: “It can’t be that great if it produced someone like you.”

Song Yuhao was startled and pulled on Li Qiye’s sleeve again, telling him that he was playing with fire.

“Ignorant fool!” Wu Lian’s eyes turned cold and ferocious as he uttered: “Death to those who insult our kingdom!”

He would never miss this chance to take care of the guy in order to renege on his bet. People would focus on the new topic instead while he had a perfect reason to kill the guy – taking down two birds with one stone.

“You and what army?” Li Qiye didn’t bother glancing at the group.

Many quietly shook their head. This was not a wise move because Wu Lian could continue on this path now. Li Qiye was putting himself in danger.

“I see, looks like you won’t apologize. Death it is!” Wu Lian aggressively went on: “Go, capture him alive, I want him to taste a fate worse than death to know the consequence of insulting our kingdom!”

The Wu disciples put down their hoe and other tools. They surrounded Li Qiye with their weapons unsheathed, eyes brimming with brutality.

“Die, brat!” They slashed and hacked, channeling all of their prior indignation and anger on him, seemingly wanting to dismember the guy.

Li Qiye simply waved his hand and all of the disciples got blown flying. He laughed and started walking towards Wu Lian: “Dogs like you dare to prance around in front of me?”

“Die!” Wu Lian remained calm and took out a gigantic cauldron. It poured down endless flame towards Li Qiye, wishing to burn him alive.

Li Qiye didn’t bat an eye and casually pointed straight forward. The entire cauldron crumbled and its flame extinguished.

Wu Lian realized that he had met a master and tried to flee. Alas, the moment he turned around, Li Qiye picked him up like a little chicken.

The spectators glanced at each other. They didn’t expect Li Qiye to be so powerful due to his ordinary appearance. They felt that he was just a nobody but a nobody couldn’t subdue the Wu Young Lord so easily. Even if Wu Lian was a domineering idiot, he was still a strong cultivator.

“You’re not leaving until you swallow all the soil here.” Li Qiye smiled deviously.

“You! Brat! Touch a hair of mine and our Wu Clan will never forgive you. Everlasting will cut you to pieces!” Wu Lian was scared out of his mind and billowed threats. Undaunted by the threat, Li Qiye smiled and said: “Everlasting is nothing in my eyes, not worth mentioning. Offend me and even if you’re the son of a True Immortal, I’ll kill eradicate you. Come on now, be a good boy and start eating.”

This was definitely a declaration of war towards Everlasting, at least in the eyes of the crowd. If his words were heard by a big shot from Everlasting, that kingdom would never be able to swallow this anger.

Li Qiye grabbed the youth’s hair and sealed his body before forcing his mouth opened. He then lowered the youth’s head to the ground and started going in a circle around the mud with him, treating his teeth like a plow.

Of course, his teeth weren’t as tough as a plow so after a full round, his front teeth were broken. Blood and mud filled his mouth.

“A man takes responsibility for his words. Since you have lost, I must force you to have your fill.” Li Qiye dropped him and picked up a handful of soil and stuffed it into his mouth.

He was forceful enough to cause the boy’s eyes to go white, unable to breathe. He finally stopped when it was completely filled and patted his hands: “Alright, this is enough. I’ll spare your dog life for now. Provoke me again and I’ll flay you.”

Wu Lian was unable to speak and could only glare back while panting. The spectators were dumbstruck by this scene, thinking that this youth was so ruthless. This public humiliation was worse than just killing the boy.

“Alright, the show is over, time to go.” Li Qiye wiped his hands clean and tidied his clothes before leaving.

Song Yuhao had the wits to follow Li Qiye and shouted: “Benefactor, please let me have your name!”

“No big deal, don’t worry about it.” Li Qiye left too quickly and Yuhao couldn’t catch up.

He stood there in a daze. After a long time, he realized something and quickly left. His mother was still waiting for him back home.

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