Everyone was wondering if they had heard wrongly. The battle between South Edict Manor and Ever Peace Manor was Suppressing Second Hall's affairs after all. All things considered, they should settle their disputes internally, but if Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor got involved in the battle, it would mean something else entirely. Either Suppressing Third Hall's authority was being challenged, or they were planning to attack Suppressing Third Hall. There were dire consequences in upsetting the Hall Master of Suppressing Third Hall.
Pei Jingxiu, Yang Qing's subordinate Mountain Chieftain, anxiously said, "Manor Head, our troops have yet to assemble. It will be difficult enough dealing with Zhang Decheng's large army, why create even more trouble?"
Yang Qing mocked, "Even if our troops were to come together, we would not be able to get the upper hand going against Zhang Decheng directly. Even if we were to win, both sides would suffer severe casualties."
Qing Mei couldn't help but remind him, "Manor Head, Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor is under the jurisdiction of Suppressing Third Hall and not under the commanded of our Suppressing Second Hall. Should we launch an assault on Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor, we will be inciting the wrath of Suppressing Third Hall. I am afraid that responsibility is not something we are able to bear."
Continuing to lead the charge, Yang Qing coldly snorted and said, "The wrath of Suppressing Third Hall? That is none of my business! Naturally, our mighty Hall Master would shoulder the burden. How could a mere Manor Head such as myself carry such a large responsibility?"
Everyone else was rendered speechless, astonished by the Manor Head's words. Their only thought was that their Manor Head was being too reckless. This was not something the usually calm and cunning Manor Head would do. Could it be because his adopted daughter was hurt by others?
Feeling particularly fragile, Qin Weiwei raised her arm to touch Miao Yi. The Great Cave Master Miao lowered his head in response and could just barely hear her utter the words 'Manor Head' from her mouth.
Miao Yi understood what she meant; she wanted to go up front and speak to the Manor Head.
Beneath him, Charcoal immediately sped up and made his way to Yang Qing's side.
Yang Qing turned his head to look, and could just make out Qin Weiwei weakly saying, "Manor Head, no need to be rash because of me. Please reconsider your actions, Manor Head!"
"Weiwei, you are overthinking things." Yang Qing replied as he shook his head, and added, "Originally, I believed that things would pass if I just lowered my head and endured it all. But after this incident, I have come to fully understand that if you do not show your strength, others will just think that you are a pushover. No matter how much you suck it up, you will not be able to change anything. Hmph! There are some who think we are soft and just easy pickings. That's why, if we do not display the might of our South Edict Manor in this battle, trouble will continue to hound us even if we were to win. We must let a certain someone understand that it is not easy to eat me, Yang Qing, up. Only then will that he set his sights on someone else. Did Zhang Decheng not want a battle? Then I shall bring him a battle that will sunder heaven and earth. Since he managed to provoke me; then I, Yang Qing, shall see if he has the ability to return with his life!"
Qin Weiwei didn't know the true story behind this incident. She had some suspicions, but there were many people around them right now. Yang Qing didn't want to reveal the details of his plans for the moment either, so he raised his hand and stopped her as he said, "No need for further discussion. I've made up my mind!"
He immediately gestured Qing Mei to tend to Qin Weiwei's wounds, stopping Qin Weiwei from speaking further before turning around and shouting, "Everyone, do not fret. I know what I am doing. Everyone just match my actions and do as I say. The more glorious we are in this battle, the safer we will be!"
What else could they say? All the subordinates could only loudly respond with, "We are willing to give our lives for our duty!"
Qing Mei drew out a small Glorious Star Immortal Herb from her storage ring and brought her steed to Miao Yi's side. She brought Qin Weiwei over to her steed, and helped tend to her wounds.
Without being burdened, Miao Yi could feel more relaxed. Now that Yang Qing and the rest were around, he heaved a sigh of relief and brought his storage ring in front of his nose to breath in strands of stardust into his lungs. He dispelled the protective arts inside his body and relaxed himself so that the medicinal effects could be allowed to heal his wounds smoothly.
Once his wounds were almost completely healed, he instructed Charcoal to simply follow Yang Qing and the others. He then tossed an Orb of Will into his mouth, closed his eyes, and began refining it to recover his spent transcendence energy.
The sky slowly darkened as the men marched relentlessly through wind and snow. Yang Qing had already called for his trusted ex-aide, Gongsun Yu, to come to his side, and started questioning him about the events that had transpired.
Gongsun Yu was not only his trusted aide, he also one of the witnesses. Naturally,, he wouldn't hide anything and spoke truthfully on the entire incident.
He discovered that things were just as he had expected, Qin Weiwei had indeed been ambushed. Yang Qing berated that girl in his mind once more for her folly.
However, what took Yang Qing by surprise was Miao Yi's sudden appearance, and that he was able to single-handedly slaughter his way in and out of an encirclement of about two hundred men; putting his life on the line and saving Qin Weiwei from her plight.
Yang Qing was shocked and a little doubtful; based on Miao Yi's cultivation, how could he possibly have wreaked havoc on his own when surrounded by so many men? He confirmed this matter with Gongsun Yu once more.
However, Gongsun Yu was filled with admiration as he spoke about Miao Yi. He raved with excitement as he recounted how Miao Yi had killed his way in and out with just a spear in hand. That stirring scene had left quite a deep impression on him.
Yang Qing felt pleased as he listened, thinking about how he indeed hadn't misjudged that man back at Transient Light Cave. This time was the same as what he had seen that year in Transient Light Cave; the youngster Miao Yi had put his life at risk in order to rescue his own daughter against all odds.
Of course, he knew that Miao Yi and Qin Weiwei didn't get along very well. However, it was precisely so that made this situation so unlikely. Clearly, Miao Yi hadn't risked his life for Qin Weiwei's sake, but for him, Yang Qing! His judgement was indeed not mistaken. It was worth his efforts in always treating Miao Yi so favorably.
After he asked Gongsun Yu to stand down, Yang Qing turned to examine Miao Yi closely. He realized that not only was Miao Yi's full body armor many times more striking than his own; what was even more outrageous, was that his fatso dragon steed sported a full set of armor as well. This was completely unheard of. Miao Yi had certainly been quite lavish.
Yang Qing could tell from a glance that were it not for this armor, that fatso dragon steed would likely have been killed a long time ago amidst the chaos. Without the support of a dragon steed's leg strength, Miao Yi also wouldn't have been able to slaughter his way in and out to rescue his own daughter; he would definitely have met his end.
His gaze descended to the six storage rings on both of Miao Yi's hands, then took another gander at the imposing battle armor that he and his dragon steed had donned, as well as that long spear brimming with a savage aura. His expression couldn't help but twitch as he thought how this brat must have made quite the fortune from his journey. Otherwise, how could a normal Cave Master wear such an overly elaborate and luxurious set of equipment?
"You just came back today?"
The sound of Yang Qing's transmission suddenly echoed in Miao Yi's ear. He hastily stopped refining the Orb of Will that he had been using to recover his transcendence energy, and weakly replied to the transmission, "Your subordinate is at fault. I have come late."
Yang Qing coldly mocked, "You really went to the Sea of Constellations?"
Miao Yi feebly replied , "Yes."
He had zero confidence deep down. Not only did the subordinates he had brought with him all perished, even East Arrival Cave had been destroyed by the enemy. He wasn't sure if he could still keep his position as Cave Master.
"With your cultivation, you were still able to come back alive after heading to the Sea of Constellations?" Yang Qing continued mocking him; however in reality, he was completely astonished. This kid really never disappointed him. He actually managed to come back alive from the Sea of Constellations.
"It was a perilous journey, and the odds of surviving were slim. I have only managed to come back with my life because of good fortune."
"How was your harvest from this journey?"
Miao Yi grumbled to himself—'You couldn't possibly be eyeing my things, right? As a superior, you shouldn't be thinking of forcefully taking your subordinates belongings? If word got out, who would dare work for you in the future…' However, he humbly replied, "Nothing too grand, just a small harvest."
"Just a small harvest? I can see that you have amassed quite the fortune! Why? Scared that I might steal your things?"
"No, no. These little trinkets of mine would hardly pique Manor Head's interest."
Yang Qing snorted and asked, "What about those subordinates that you brought with you?"
Miao Yi was at a loss for words—what must come will eventually come. He hesitated for a moment. When he realized that he wouldn't be able to avoid this anyway, he decisively replied, "Reporting to Manor Head. The Sea of Constellations is indeed a dangerous place. We had only just entered the Sea of Constellations, and had yet to reach land, when we were ambushed by a demon. The nine people under my command were unable to escape and all perished at the spot!"
"Now you realize that the Sea of Constellations is dangerous?" Yang Qing sneered once again. After a moment of thought, he transmitted, "The School of Blue Jade are only aware that you brought their men away, but not to the Sea of Constellations. When you go back, if the School of Blue Jade questions you, you can just blame their deaths on Ever Peace Manor and say that they all died in this battle, understand?"
Miao Yi was stunned. As he gathered his thoughts, he was overjoyed. Yang Qing was protecting him and it seemed that he would be able to overcome this difficult hurdle just like that; it was worth risking his life to save Yang Qing's adopted daughter. He quickly replied, "Thank you for your support, Manor Head!"
Yang Qing didn't reply and simply snorted. However, he found this situation truly hilarious as he thought about the sort of expression Zhang Decheng had on at this moment.
He was completely certain that it didn't matter whether Miao Yi was at East Arrival Cave or not this time around. It wouldn't have affected Ever Peace Manor's decision. What was bound to happen, would happen regardless of whether this kid was present or not. However, it was because of this kid's sudden appearance that Zhang Decheng's calculations were completely disrupted. Knowing this, wouldn't Zhang Decheng likely be puking blood in anger?
He also knew that, if Miao Yi hadn't gone on this journey and came back with a whole body of treasure, if he had stayed in East Arrival Cave all this while with just his current strength, it wouldn't have made much of a difference.. He might have even risked his life for nothing. Looking at it this way, it was a good thing that the kid had snuck off to the Sea of Constellations. One way or another, Miao Yi helped solve the predicament that he was in.
Night had fallen, the snow began to fall in earnest as the slippery ground began to amass mounds of snow.
The large army galloped without rest on this snowy night. Only dragon steeds had such endurance in their legs; normal horses would have died a long time ago.
Qin Weiwei's wounds slowly healed. After recovering about fifty to sixty percent of her expended transcendence energy; naturally, she no longer had a problem to riding a horse. This was a good thing, but Miao Yi was a little lost for words.
The reason was because Elder Auntie Qing Mei had demanded that they switch steeds. There was no other reason beyond the fact that Charcoal had strong legs. Qing Mei's steed had some difficulty keeping up with the troops while carrying both Qin Weiwei and herself.
Previously, Qin Weiwei was injured, so there was no helping it that Miao Yi had to carry her around. However now, it naturally wasn't appropriate for a man and a woman to share a steed—Elder Auntie had said so. Thus, Miao Yi could only switch steeds with Qing Mei.
Charcoal was not as obedient as Qing Mei's steed that would heed her master's every order. He wasn't cooperative at all when a stranger sat on his back, and only settled down after Miao Yi forced him to.
There were no complaints about Charcoal's leg strength. Its speed didn't decrease in the slightest while carrying Qing Mei and Qin Weiwei; it had no problem keeping up with the troops.
On the other hand, Miao Yi found a little difficulty getting used to suddenly sitting on a 'scrawny' dragon steed after being accustomed to the plump Charcoal.
That wasn't the least of it; Miao Yi was a little uncertain what Yang Qing was actually planning. He clearly said that they were to attack Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor, yet all they had done was circle around the individual abodes under Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor as if they had no intention of assaulting them. Throughout this journey, they had been leading Zhang Decheng's troops in circles around Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor's territory.
Not only Miao Yi, even the others were confused.
The Mountain Chieftain Pei Jingxiu had followed quietly all this while. He couldn't resist any longer and wanted to probe Yang Qing's intentions once again, when Yang Qing suddenly silenced him with a single sentence. "Come daylight tomorrow, everything will be clear!"