Specks of snowflakes fell and melted over the ruins. Miao Yi stood, feeling distant and aloof as the twelve corpses hung behind him. A wave of barely suppressed killing intent prevaded from his body as he coldly glared down at Yan Xiu.
He didn't utter a single word and continued to level his frosty gaze at Yan Xiu, waiting for him to give an explanation.
"Cave Master! You're finally home!" Yan Xiu abruptly choked out in sorrow as he recovered his wits. He leapt off his dragon steed and ran up to Miao Yi, before kneeling down on one leg, thrusting his axe into the ground. He was ashamed to face him. Tears streamed down his aged cheeks as he choked back a sob, shaking his head in reply, "Yan Xiu is useless. I have betrayed Cave Master's great trust. A thousand deaths would not be enough to atone for Yan Xiu's crimes!"
With these words, Miao Yi could finally reaffirm that he was still the Cave Master of this land. Yang Qing had not replaced him with another.
Truthfully, he had already gathered that was the case after seeing the faces of the handmaidens clearly. If someone else had replaced him in overseeing East Arrival Cave, those handmaidens would have already been sent back to East Arrival City to take up posts in the Manor of Merciful Hope. This was the normal convention, as nobody wished for their handmaidens to be second-hand goods. Even if they did, they wouldn't have retained all of them.
He had been gone for a long time. Since Yang Qing held his position as Cave Master, it was clear that Yang Qing really held him in high regard!
Yet it was exactly because of this—because he knew it was still own abode—that such havoc and destruction truly made him feel overcome with fury. His entire body felt as though it had been shocked by electricity.
His head felt numb; his mouth and tongue were beyond dry. From top to bottom, his entire body felt a tingling numbness.
Yao Ruoxian shifted his head to cast a glance at Miao Yi. He muttered in his heart, surprised that such a brat was actually the Cave Master of this abode. A Cave Master of White Lotus Third Grade! He had truly seen a ghost!
In coming here, he had also wished to verify whether Miao Yi was truly a Cave Master. Before, he still held some suspicions but now, it seemed that it was really true. The man before him didn't look like he was pretending to put on a show together with the brat.
Looking grim and white, Miao Yi continued glaring coldly at the forthright Yan Xiu still kneeling down on one knee. "Who. Did. This?" he demanded mercilessly, angrily biting off each word.
"While your subordinate was patrolling the mountain, I glimpsed Yuan Zhengkun leading Li Xin and Sun Jiaojiao along with the rest, attacking from the behind the mountain. Your subordinate was alone, too weak in power, and wasn't able to ward them off. I couldn't save the handmaidens in time. It was all I could do to risk my life breaking through the entrapment. After fortunately making my escape, I immediately rushed towards Mount Calming Sea to deliver the news. I didn't expect that I would then run into the Mountain Chieftain who, having caught wind of the news, was rushing here with her troops. By the time I charged back with the Mountain Chieftain, the abode had turned into this. I personally witness Yuan Zhengkun and the others escaping. Soon after, Mountain Chieftain and her troops followed in pursuit..." Yan Xiu explained the past situation through choked sobs.
"Hehe… Yuan Zhengkun… Hehe…" After listening to everything, Miao Yi laughed manically in rage.
Even in his dreams, he wouldn't have imagined that Yuan Zhengkun would unexpectedly return. He hadn't forgotten about that man. Back then, that scum had made everyone his scapegoat and almost cost him his life. If it wasn't for Yang Qing treating him favorably, he would have long been dead.
The most important thing was—he had killed Luo Zhen and Cao Dingfeng. Miao Yi didn't have much friends, and two of the few he had, had died because of that bastard, Yuang Zhengkun. When that bastard wanted to escape, he could have brought everyone along with him. Instead, he had pushed them all to their deaths without any cause. Before he had even taken revenge on him, Yuan Zhenkun had actually come back to harm him again.
New hatred and old grudges burned together in Miao Yi's chest, stifling him and making him feel excruciating agony.
From the fleshy feelers that remained connected to him, Charcoal felt some restlessness, because he sensed Miao Yi's unspeakably towering rage.
Charcoal was agitated and wanted to pace around, but Miao Yi forced him to remain in place, facing Yan Xiu.
"Hehe… Yuan Zhengkun…" Miao Yi gave a hollow smile as he stared at Yan Xiu. Then asked, "Where did Qian'Er and Xue'Er go?"
Yan Xiu's lips quivered uncontrollably as he shook his head. "Yan Xiu is useless! I couldn't find them anywhere, and they don't have any mounts. I'm afraid that they didn't run away in time. I fear that... that they've already been captured by Yuan Zhengkun!"
"Captured?" Miao Yi's eyes immediately widened.
The scene before him was enough for him imagine the horrors that Qian'Er and Xue'Er might be subjected to after being captured. Could it be that it wasn't enough to torture the two girls to death? They still wanted to drag them along and continue abusing and raping them.
Was it because they discovered that those two were the Cave Master's handmaidens, and so decided to do it in this manner?
Was it for the sake of deliberately humiliating him?
He always wanted to find his younger siblings so he could take care of them by his side. If he had really brought them here, would they have suffered the same fate?
Could he even protect them?
A surge of hot blood instantly rushed to his head. Miao Yi could no longer contain the raging fury inside him. Abruptly, he faced towards the sky and furiously bellowed, "ARRGHH!!! Yuan Zhengkun, you will rue the day you were born! I swear I will kill you! If I do not exact this vengeance, then I am not human..."
"What are you screaming at…," below him, Yao Ruoxian used his pinkie to dig his ears. "My ears are numb from the noise. Can you kill by shouting the loudest? I've never seen it before."
Yan Xiu didn't know who the sloppy old man was. He lifted his head to witness Miao Yi bellowing in rage. Seeing the Cave Master grief-stricken, he couldn't help but lower his head, once again confessing to his mistake through choked sobs, "Yan Xiu is useless, I have betrayed Cave Master's great trust!"
After venting out his rage, Miao Yi took a deep breath. He tried his hardest to calm himself down, and shook his head saying, "It's not your fault. You wouldn't be able to stop them with just you alone. It was already fortunate that you managed to escape. I am the one to blame. If I hadn't brought everyone with me, it would not have come to this. Now rise!"
By the time Yan Xiu slowly came to his feet, Miao Yi had flipped his palm over, and promptly plucked a celestial fruit from the immortal herb that shot out from his storage ring. He blew out a wisp of starry clouds which drifted into the wounds on Yan Xiu's arms.
After healing his wounds, Miao Yi casually flung over the celestial fruit.
Upon receiving the celestial fruit in his hand, Yan Xiu was a little stunned. He didn't know what this item was, but he could feel that it was undoubtedly a divine healing medicine. The mystical effect was almost the same as the divine healing medicine—the Glorious Star immortal herb of the cultivation world. Was the Cave Master gifting this treasure to him?
"Keep this item with you. Use it if there's an emergency!" Sure enough, Miao Yi was gifting this to him.
This was to reward Yan Xiu, based on the fact that he hadn't behaved like his past self, but had instead risked his life over simply surrendering. To Miao Yi, this was worth rewarding him generously.
"Cave Master, thank you!" Eyes reddened, Yan Xiu cupped his hands with his axe raised.
Beneath the high platform, Yao Ruoxian rolled his eyes. When he plucked two celestial fruits, this brat had been extremely stingy, yet now he was being generous. A cultivator at the Red Lotus realm like him wasn't even held with any respect.
In an unnervingly deadpanned manner, Miao Yi challenged, "Do you dare to come forth with me to take the life of that accursed brigand, Yuan Zhengkun?!"
Yan Xiu once again cupped his fists. "Your subordinate pledges his life to follow you!"
'Reward him again!' Without the slightest hesitation, Miao Yi retrieved a storage ring from his waist and casually flung it at Yan Xiu. "Keep it!"
After receiving the item in his hand, only then did Yan Xiu notice the six storage rings Miao Yi wore on his hands. He was honestly rather startled. Although he hadn't stopped grieving, a though still gradually formed in his mind—the Cave Master had struck gold!
There were more rewards! Miao Yi gave another flip of his hand, and a pair of large silvery broad axes appeared. They were considerably larger than the ones in Yan Xiu's grip. Not only that, the handle had chains on them. He also tossed them to Yan Xiu. "I'm giving you a transcendent artifact you're familiar with, so that you can join me to kill! This is a pair of first grade transcendent artifacts. Remove the thread of art source from within and imbue it with your own, then they will become your transcendent artifacts!"
He had already forgotten which Fort Master these weapons belong to. Before this, they were almost refined by Yao Ruoxian, but Miao Yi had thought that these transcendent artifacts were rather suited for Yan Xiu's use, so he had intentionally kept them.
It wasn't the end yet; a mid-grade Orb of Will shot out from Miao Yi's hand and fell onto Yan Xiu's hand. "Keep it for your use!"
Yan Xiu was a little alarmed. A celestial fruit, storage ring, a pair of transcendent artifacts and a mid-grade Orb of Will… The Cave Master was so lavish with his generosity, it seemed like he had really struck gold in the Sea of Constellations. But where were the rest of the men that the Cave Master had brought along gone to?
To the current Miao Yi, all those weren't much at all. Even after subtracting the items consumed by Yao Ruoxian while refining his transcendent artifacts, the items he had consumed for cultivation, and the rewards he had just given Yan Xiu.
Now with just the storage rings he owned alone, including the one from Yang Qing and Madam We Hua, he had two hundred and eleven of them.
If all his crystal coins were to be converted to Gold Crystals, he would have more than thirty million Gold Crystals in currency.
He still had eighty-two first grade transcendent artifacts which he hadn't used.
As for low-grade Orbs of Will, there were four hundred and fifty-eight of them.
Mid-grade Orbs of Will, one hundred and seventy-one.
While for gradeless Yao Cores, there were eight hundred and eighty-eight of them.
First grade Yao Cores, he had a hundred and seventy.
There was still half a case of Blaze Resins, including more than ten thousand pots of spiritual wine brewed from spiritual herbs. Drinking them would definitely assist in raising one's cultivation level. The other odd bits and ends didn't count. In short, comparing Miao Yi to a normal cultivator of his level, he was very rich.
Yet how could he have the mood to count these things right now? There were a dozen corpses behind him. It made him bristle with rage. They all stared at their dear Cave Master in wide-eyed torment, their tongues dangling, and with the land before them ruined and ravaged by others!
Each of the items he had given to Yan Xiu were not for the sake of flaunting them. They were all for Yan Xiu to accompany him on his quest to kill! If his enemies did not fall under his blade, he wouldn't be able to cleanse the grudge branded into his heart!
"Senior Yao, if I do not seek vengeance then I, Miao Yi, cannot eat or rest in peace. Will you aid me?" asked Miao Yi as he looked towards Yao Ruoxian beneath him.
Yao Ruoxian lifted his head towards the sky and replied as though it had nothing to do with him. "This is your own enmity. It's none of my business! Just don't forget the agreement between us."
As with the situation now, and before when discussing their agreement, Yao Ruoxian was afraid that he would need to temporarily submit himself under East Arrival Cave.
However, they had already reached an agreement beforehand that he, Yao Ruoxian, would be able to roam freely and not be tied down by Miao Yi in any way. He also would not become Miao Yi's subordinate, or be required to respect him as a superior. Miao Yi wouldn't even dream of ordering him about. He knew Yao Ruoxian would definitely smash him to death with his bar mace.
Joining East Arrival Cave was all for the sake being an official resident of East Arrival Cave, so it would be easier for him to bond with the small mantids; he wasn't here to be Miao Yi's subordinate. Those eighty-five small mantids were now currently creeping about in Yao Ruoxian's wide sleeves.
On hearing his response, Miao Yi knew he couldn't force him, so he didn't say another word.
Unexpectedly, Yao Ruoxian then pursed his lips at the twelve corpses hanging from the ruined beams. "Your squabbles are of no concern to me; you go kill whatever you want. I will help you bury these poor bodies."
"There is no need!" Miao Yi said coldly.
"Hey!" Yao Ruoxian was instantly upset, and coldly scorned, "I'm giving you face by helping you do some chores. Aren't you getting riled up, brat??"
Yan Xiu turned to take a good look at Yao Ruoxian. He didn't know who he was exactly, but the Cave Master seemed to be afraid of him.
"Senior, you are mistaken." Miao Yi slowly turned his steed around, and pointed at every single one of the hung bodies with their tongues jutting out. He snapped angrily, "Senior, look at them! All of them have their eyes wide open. Every single one of them is looking at me. If I, Miao Yi, can't avenge them; even if I bury them, they will not rest in peace. For the time being, let them hang here and witness with their own eyes. For every day that I can't avenge them at East Arrival Cave, let them watch me for another day longer. I, Miao Yi, will not permit them to absolve me, even if they were to become ghosts. If I can't avenge them, then East Arrival Cave should never be rebuilt!"
The moment those words came out, they were powerful and resonating, as though he had sworn to the heavens above. Yan Xiu listened until his lips tightened; even Yao Ruoxian was moved as he stared at Miao Yi in a daze.