"Not around?" Chen Fei was stunned. He then inquired again, "Do you know when Brother Miao will return?"
Yan Xiu sure as hell wouldn't know when Miao Yi would come back. He had been out for almost a year. He guessed that his dear Cave Master had already gone into eternal rest at the Sea of Constellations forever, and feared that he would no longer return in this lifetime.
Having nothing better to do but run off to the Sea of Constellations, was the same as courting death. Yan Xiu bore some resentment towards this. He blamed Miao Yi for acting on his own and for ignoring him.
"Friend, if it's convenient for you, you can leave behind your contact details. Once Cave Master returns, I will be sure to inform him."
Yan Xiu couldn't possibly tell him that Miao Yi had gone to the Sea of Constellations. He meant for his words was to convey that the other party shouldn't wait and could head back. The Cave Master wouldn't be returning anytime soon.
Chen Fei let out an 'Oh!' and understood. He cast a gaze across the vicinity of East Arrival Cave. Having no intention to stay, he cupped his hands at Yan Xiu. "Farewell!"
"Take care. Forgive me for not sending you off." Yan Xiu returned the greeting and did not detain him.
Chen Fei faintly nodded his head, turning his dragon steed around, before swiftly galloping off.
As he sped along on the way back, he felt greatly at ease deep down. It was good that Miao Yi wasn't around.
He owed Miao Yi and did not want to see misfortune fall upon him. He had came here with the intention of tricking Miao Yi into going away so that he avoid this disaster. He would treat this as his returning the favor.
Nobody would have expected Miao Yi to head out and not come back in the meantime. It had saved him the trouble of racking his brain to come up with lies.
As for the others in East Arrival Cave, he did not have any relations with them, so he wouldn't reveal anything.
Chen Fei had been anticipating the day he would make his comeback for a long time. He would never ruin the chance to rise up once again, and would also never not prioritize himself. Whether others in East Arrival Cave were dead or alive, it had nothing to do with him.
As they say, one good turn deserves another. This adage still held some truth to it at times. Miao Yi and Chen Fei were considered to be a lucky meeting of good friends...
"Are there any movements from Ever Peace Manor?"
Inside the mountain pavilion, Yang Qing had been leaning against the parapet with his hands clasped behind his back, gazing into the distance when he suddenly heard Qing Mei's nearing footsteps, and asked the question without turning his head.
The chilling wind on the mountaintop appeared to be more intense than at ground level. Qing Mei draped a cloak over his shoulders — the very same one one that Yang Qing had swindled from Miao Yi before.
While she set about completing her task with great care, Qing Mei answered, "So far, there is no news of activity. School of Blue Jade has also officiated a response. If anything were to happen, Sect Master Pan will immediately deliver the third grade transcendent artifact to boost the morales of the Mountain Chieftains."
Yang Qing heaved a mild sigh of relief, and slowly nodded his head; it seemed like the weighty gift he had given to He Yunye was not gifted in vain.
It could be said that the news was being kept with the utmost secrecy at Ever Peace Manor, but South Edict Manor's Yang Qing was still a force to be reckoned. Else, the others wouldn't be afraid to act blindly without thinking.
Without hesitating, Yang Qing had done as Feng Zhihuan said to do. He had forced himself to prepare a generous gift to He Yunye and sworn allegiance to him. In return, He Yunye had accepted the offer smilingly, even saying that he was one of theirs from then on, and would help him put in good words to the Hall Master.
However, being in an already in dangerous position, Yang Qing didn't dare be careless. He had managed to get this far today because he had never entirely pinned his own success or failure in other people's hands. It was not wrong to be prepared just in case.
With his purse strings being a bit tight, he had appeased his army without utilizing the respective mountain's financial resources. Instead, he had forcefully levied a vast sum from the South Edict City that he directly governed. In addition, with the little he had in hand, he had gone straight ahead and bought a flock of spiritual eagles used to send news. He had dispatched them to keep in close contact with the respective mountains under him.
Furthermore, not only had he placed spies in Ever Peace Manor, above South Edict Manor, Yang Qing had also sent out spies to pay attention to the movements of the Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor which was situated below and didn't belong to Suppressing Second Hall.
Zhang Decheng, the Manor Head of Ever Peace Manor had suddenly summoned the respective Mountain Chieftains to assemble before him. When the news reached Yang Qing, it immediately placed him on high alert. He quickly issued out an order for the respective Mountain Chieftains to make preparations for war.
But the news that soon travelled from Ever Peace Manor after that implied that the forces of Ever Peace Manor hadn't made any large-scale movements. The time to harvest the Orbs of Will at the end of year was fast approaching, so having a number of personnels rush about was entirely normal.
What's more, as long as Ever Peace Manor had assembled such a mass of troops, they would not be able to escape his sight! When battling in his own land, the advantage he had in the distance and time allowed him to quickly assemble his own troops before the opponent arrived.
If they dared to invade his territory, he would definitely deal a heavy blow right back at them!
The tranquility in Ever Peace Manor calmed Yang Qing's nerves slightly. Maybe he was thinking too much; if He Yunye had accepted his gifts and still intended to target him, then his table manners were really horrible.
However, he did not permit the respective Mountain Chieftains under him to let their guard down...
Overall, there wasn't much visible activity going on and not many could actually tell if there were any changes, but very few pieces on the chessboard had began to make slight, difficult to detect movements.
After assembling the troops of three caves, the men of Emerald Forest Cave had already marched out in the night. To avoid being found out, they hadn't gone along the usual path, and had instead traversed across the mountain ranges, going straight towards East Arrival Cave.
But as chance would have it, the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Calming Sea, Qin Weiwei, upon receiving the warning message to prepare for war from South Edict Manor, naturally didn't dare to lower her guard since she was placed in the most important seat by her adoptive father. The moment she betrayed her adoptive father's great trust, how could she face him in the future?
Qin Weiwei wasn't too worried about all the other locations except for East Arrival Cave, which gave her no choice but to be doubly vigilant.
Because on the whole, East Arrival Cave was empty. Basically, it did not have any capability to defend itself. However, she herself did not have many men to supplement East Arrival Cave. Additionally, Yang Qing had promised to give Miao Yi a chance, so he had still kept East Arrival Cave for Miao Yi. So for a while, it hadn't been appropriate for her to arrange men to take over the place.
Qin Weiwei had to guard against a possible attack. She sent out scouts to lie in wait at the two nearby abodes adjacent to East Arrival Cave; not only in Emerald Forest Cave.
Therefore, her action proved to be the birth of many unintentional positive outcomes. After the scouts clarified which direction the units of Emerald Forest Cave were sneaking off to, not half a day had passed before a spiritual eagle descended to Mount Calming Sea from the skies.
Qin Weiwei had been sitting behind a long table when she received the warning sent by the scouts. Dressed in robes white as snow, she slammed the table top and quickly stood up. "Not good! Emerald Forest Cave is going to launch an attack against East Arrival Cave!"
From her side, Hong Mian cried out in surprise, "Cave Master Miao has brought along almost all the troops with him — East Arrival Cave is but an empty shell. How could the place ward off the attack?"
Qin Weiwei was incensed to the point that she clenched her fists tight, and bellowed in fury, "They must have known that East Arrival Cave is now an empty shell, so they dared to make their move at East Arrival Cave. Look at what that lowly scum Miao Yi has done! You better don't come back from the Sea of Constellations alive. When the time comes, even if the Manor Head embraces you, I will never forgive you! I will definitely kill you first before reporting it!"
Lu Liu frowned. "Mountain Chieftain, now is not the time to be angry at Cave Master Miao. You must quickly report the situation to Manor Head."
Qin Weiwei breathed in deeply, trying her best to calm her emotions. Swiftly, she invoked her arts to write up a jade archive and, after sealing it with her insignia, quickly handed it over to the two handmaidens.
They quickly quickly carried out a spiritual eagle from its cage; placing the jade archive into the cylindrical tube at its feet, they carried it to the window, and released it into the sky.
Emerald Forest Cave were being so presumptuous. Qin Weiwei was afraid that the other party had made preparations to meet contingencies, so now, she must assemble the forces of Mount Calming Sea to prepare to meet any eventuality.
Next to the long table, Qin Weiwei again immediately wrote up a number of jade archives for deploying an army in quick succession. She then sealed each of them with her own insignia which was clearly distinguishable.
One by one, the spiritual eagles carried the decrees as they rapidly flapped their wings, cutting through the sky, and flying towards each of the caves to deliver the news.
The two girls followed suit to call upon Mount Calming Sea's own units to assemble with urgency.
Soon after, Qin Weiwei, clad in a garment white as snow, led her own troops to make haste towards East Arrival Cave through the night.
It would take some time for the respective mountain forces to assemble, but Qin Weiwei had already ordered each cave's forces to hurry towards East Arrival Cave in the jade archives had she sent out. Everyone should assemble whilst heading there. She had no time left to sit around idly, waiting for everyone to assemble first before marching out...
At daybreak, about forty men from Emerald Forest Cave were riding their dragon steeds to traversing the mountain ranges. They had already charged into the realm of East Arrival Cave, and were silently hiding in the mountain forest, waiting for the scout's news to arrive.
It wasn't just Yuan Zhengkun and the rest, those men who had sought asylum from the former South Edict Manor were also exchanging glances with each other. Their eyes held an excitement that was difficult to mask.
The situation had already escalated to this stage, they had marched out secretly in the dark to close in on East Arrival Cave. The edge of the blade had already been covertly drawn out, and was about to strike into East Arrival Cave's waist. They would be fools if they still hadn't guess what Ever Peace Manor's mysterious actions were for.
Ever Peace Manor wanted to strike out at South Edict Manor! Obviously, they wanted to start off with East Arrival Cave first!
Everyone knew, the opportunity for them to make their comeback was here so they were brimming with excitement deep down...
At South Edict Manor, inside the mountain pavillion which the Manor Head loved, Yang Qing was currently sitting cross-legged in meditation to cultivate.
A spiritual eagle soared through the sky, dropping down underneath the pavilion. A pair of sharp claws clutched onto the railings, before crying out to announce that it had arrived.
Qing Ju quickly moved forward to retrieve the jade archive from the tube at its leg, and presented it before Yang Qing with both hands.
Yang Qing did not open his eyes. He accepted the jade archive into his hand with his eyes closed. Imbuing his transcendence energy to examine it, his brows had already begun to knit.
Immediately after, as though he had just realized something, his eyes abruptly opened as he suddenly breathed in a breath of cold air. He promptly leapt to his feet, bellowing in rage, "Qin Weiwei, that foolish girl!"
"What's wrong?" Qing Ju asked puzzlingly. On the other hand, Qing Mei simply walked over, revealing a questioning look on her face.
"Read it yourself!" Yang Qing flung the thing at them both. As though he were an enraged lion, he began pacing about in an aggressive manner in the pavilion.
After Qing Mei and Qing Ju read through the contents of the jade archive, they were also shocked. "Will young miss be alright?"
Yang Qing's tone was grim as he exclaimed, "That girl is too foolish! Miao Yi had already taken the men of East Arrival Cave with him. It's now an empty shell so there's no point in saving it. Instead of rushing back South Edict Manor, to coordinate with me in reserving and assembling our forces, she marched out to East Arrival Cave! She went straight into their trap!"
Qing Mei tried to help out by putting a word in, "It's almost time for the Orbs of Will to be harvested. There mustn't be any losses in harvesting them this time. Young miss must be worried that they would be taken by others so she had gone forth to stop them."
"Are lives more important, or are the Orbs of Will more important? They purposely chose this moment to strike!" Yang Qing shouted with rage. Abruptly, he stopped in his tracks to turn around, his gaze alight like a blazing torch as he said, "Can't you girls see? Without the approval of Ever Peace Manor, Emerald Forest Cave would have never dared to act on their own to attack East Arrival Cave. They are obviously trying to draw the snake out from its nest, and then besieging her to annihilate the reinforcements. Qin Weiwei, that girl is in danger! Damn you, Zhang Decheng! What a way to deceive everybody! You purposely held back your troops to fool me and after, intend to rile me up and upend the overall situation! I have truly underestimated him, for him to have come up with such a brilliant plan! This matter can't be blamed on anyone else; I am the one who has been negligent and this is the consequence of underestimating Zhang Decheng, my enemy!"