Miao Yi directed the three-pointed spearhead of the Inversed-Scales Spear at Xiong Xiao and decried, "You are doing this intentionally to get in my way!"
With a bloody open wound on his back, Yan Xiu charged forward with his steed. He held two axes in his hands, with the chain-link wrapped around his arms. He made a stance that indicated he was prepared to live or die alongside Miao Yi.
While he had fought hard and killed his enemies ferociously in this battle, if it wasn't for the extra boost to his strength from the first grade transcendent artifact that Miao Yi had gifted him, he might have already perished in the battle just now.
However even if he had made it here in time, compared to Xiong Xiao's men, being the lonely branch of a Cave Master with but a single leaf, Miao Yi looked a little too lonesome.
"Get in your way?" Xiong Xiao sneered. He narrowed his eyes at Miao Yi, scrutinizing him from the top-down with a displeased look on his face, as if to say, 'Do you think you're worth the trouble of me getting in your way?' However, he added, "You are merely over thinking things. I said that I need to replenish my manpower, but if you are determined to think otherwise, then there is nothing I can do."
In truth, he was intentionally getting in Miao Yi's way. If he hadn't seen Miao Yi so hell-bent on killing these three, he would not have personally stepped out to stop him. He wanted to tick Miao Yi off. He thought back to the time when Miao Yi had greatly humiliation in public, calling him an 'old scum' again and again. It wouldn't be wrong to say that he had lost all face then, so naturally, he wanted to return the favor when an opportunity presented itself.
Miao Yi's lips twitched furiously. He pointed his spear towards the horrified Yuan Zhengkun and company, as he shouted, "The three of them have carried out abominable deeds at my East Arrival Cave. They are utterly devoid of conscience. I definitely will not let them go! You had better hand them over to me!"
His tone implied, 'otherwise don't blame me for being discourteous!'
A Cave Master was going against a Mountain Chieftain, without even the least bit of respect, or any attempt at false courtesy.
Xiong Xiao's subordinates shared a look. The grudge between Miao Yi and Xiong Xiao had spread across South Edict Manor a long time ago; everyone knew of it. This Cave Master Miao was probably the one that disregarded Mountain Chieftain Xiong the most in the entire South Edict Manor.
It was also inappropriate for them to comment. One was their Mountain Chieftain, whereas the other Great Cave Master Miao was also the trusted aide of Manor Head Yang Qing. If Mountain Chieftain Xiong Xiao didn't order it, it would be hard for them to help either side.
Xiong Xiao coldly replied, "The three of them are already men of my Mount Shaotai. How could I let anyone have them just like that? If I don't give them to you, what are you going to do about it?"
Miao Yi was furious. He swung his spear and pointed at Xiong Xiao as he shouted, "Old scum Xiong Xiao, do you dare battle me to the death!?"
With a full body battle armor comprised of transcendent artifacts as he was now, he really didn't fear cultivators below the Blue Lotus realm!
The other party was calling him out to have a one-on-one battle—how could Xiong Xiao back away? He swung the blade in his hand and shouted, "Why would I be afraid of you? You brought this upon yourself, there are no eyes on my blade. Don't blame me if anything goes wrong!"
He had been having trouble finding the right opportunity to strike. Now that the other party was coming right at him, he couldn't have hoped for anything better.
They both brought their steeds to the side; they were really preparing to duke it out man to man.
However, Miao Yi's earlier shout had been too conspicuous, as Yang Qing could be seen quickly charging over here. He angrily bellowed, "Stop this at once!"
Liu Jingtian accompanied him forward as well. He looked on in puzzlement as he thought, "Could this be internal strife?"
Qin Weiwei had been observing from afar. As soon as she saw the sparks fly between the two arch-enemies, she knew that trouble was brewing and quickly dropped her affairs temporarily to lead Gongsun Yu, Li Youqian and Zhang Yuniang over in a hurry. She couldn't stand idly by when her own subordinate was going up against Xiong Xiao yet again.
Yang Qing still had Zhang Decheng's severed head in hand when he charged over with Liu Jingtian. He stepped in between Miao Yi and Xiong Xiao, and gave them a look as he said, "What are you two trying to do?"
Miao Yi immediately pointed towards Yuan Zhengkun's group hiding behind Xiong Xiao, and said, "These three bastards are completely devoid of conscience. They went to my East Arrival Cave to pillage and rape, destroying everything. They didn't even spare the ten handmaidens and, after defiling them, hung their corpses on the remaining pillars of the East Arrival Cave Grand Hall. If I don't kill them, it would be hard to quell the hatred in my heart!"
Yan Xiu also had a burning desire to rip them to shreds as he glared at Yuan Zhengkun's group. There was more than just the grudge from East Arrival Cave between him and Yuan Zhengkun.
As they brought their horses to a halt by the side, Qin Weiwei's group also looked at Yuan Zhengkun's group coldly. She obviously knew of the other party's 'good' deeds in East Arrival Cave.
However, Xiong Xiao also had something to say, and disputed, "According to your logic, then should we not kill everyone that has surrendered? Naturally, there will be certain grievances when each person follows a different master. If you had the capability to kill them before they submitted to me, then I wouldn't have said another word."
He then turned towards Yang Qing and cupped his fists as he said, "Manor Head, these three have already submitted to me, and I have accepted their surrender. The three of them now belong to Mount Shaotai, yet Miao Yi wants to rush in and kill them. What kind of reasoning is this?"
"Filthy bastard!" Miao Yi shouted as he swung his spear. "Don't try to twist the facts. You clearly only came up to stop me after seeing me chasing down the three of them! Let the three of them come out here to challenge me if you dare. I'll show you if I have the ability to reduce them into ground meat or not!"
'Calling me a filthy bastard again?' Xiong Xiao thought furiously. Previously in the outer compounds of South Edict Manor, he was the one at fault, so he could only endure even as he was being berated. However, not only was he being called names in front of so many people, there were also men from Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. How could he take this lying down? He immediately swung his sword and pointed it at Miao Yi as he shouted, "A mangy mutt with a mouth full of obscenities. You better watch your tongue, else don't blame me for being discourteous!"
The two of them were really about to clash right on the spot. If it weren't for Yang Qing standing between the two of them and stopping them in their tracks, the both of them would have already gone at one other's throats.
The others who had just rushed over, now realised that the Great Cave Master Miao really was too fierce, to be so bold as to challenge Xiong Xiao to a showdown. Some couldn't help but watch on in anticipation.
They actually dared to show such a farce of an internal struggle in front of outsiders. Yang Qing glared at them and bellowed, "SILENCE! Both of you!"
The two of them looked at Yang Qing and saw how furious he was. They slowly put down their weapons and no longer dared to challenge his authority again.
In the entire South Edict Manor, only Yang Qing could make Miao Yi a little more obedient. As soon as Yang Qing was a little lax on him, he reckless took his men in secret to the Sea of Constellations without any regard for Qin Weiwei. Considering that he didn't even recognize the authority of his own Mountain Chieftain Qin Weiwei, why would he recognize the Xiong Xiao's authority?
Yang Qing took another look at his two trusted aides covered in blood. This was the stain of fresh blood that came from a ruthless massacre; from this, one could tell how valiant the two of them had been in battle. Furthermore, the both of them had accomplished great deeds individually. If it weren't for Miao Yi risking his life to rescue Qin Weiwei and thus foiling Zhang Decheng's schemes, the current situation would be anyone's guess. Likewise, without Xiong Xiao diving alone into a perilous situation and courageously coming up with ways to trick Liu Jingtian into cooperating, they wouldn't have attained victory in this battle.
Yet of all things, these two meritorious vassals were like oil and water—there was no end to their bickering. Now they were at each other's throats again, yet they both had done a great service, so it was not good to blatantly side with either one.
"Still not bringing your subordinate away?" Yang Qing shouted in reprimand to Qin Weiwei.
It seemed like Qin Weiwei had something to say, but after she looked at the 'guest' Liu Jingtian to the side, she could only urge her dragon steed forward and called for Miao Yi. "Come!" she said.
"They….." Miao Yi was dissatisfied with the outcome, pointing at Yuan Zhengkun's group. He still wanted to settle his score with them, but when he met Yang Qing's cold piercing gaze, his expression twitched and he shut his mouth. He turned to follow behind Qin Weiwei's back with a dissatisfied look on his face. He turned to look at Yuan Zhengkun's trio from time to time; his gaze sending chills down their spines.
The three of them knew that this guy had no intentions of letting them go, but even Yang Qing himself had laid down the law, so they believed that everything would be settled.
"Bring your men and scoot!" Yang Qing bellowed towards Xiong Xiao.
It seemed like he was giving more face to Miao Yi because he had used the word 'scoot' against Xiong Xiao, but Xiong Xiao had a thankful expression as he cupped his fists and replied, "Yes!"
He turned around and swiftly brought his men away.
Xiong Xiao was quite pleased. The Manor Head seemed like he wasn't being respectful of him, but in truth he had still taken his side. He still allowed him to keep Yuan Zhengkun's group. Miao Yi still lost against him.
"A few of my subordinates are ill-behaved. I have shown Brother Liu an ugly sight." Yang Qing said as he sighed to Liu Jingtian.
Liu Jingtian chuckled in response. It seemed he was quite fond of Yang Qing's attitude.
It was mostly due to the fact that Liu Jingtian had received a large boon that Yang Qing had been truly willing to give up, without a shred of hesitation at that. He hadn't asked for a single thing on Zhang Decheng's corpse, even that flying sword that he clearly needed. He relinquished it to Liu Jingtian, treating it all as compensation for Liu Jingtian's prior acceptance in answering his plea to deploy his forces.
This action allowed Liu Jingtian to hold Yang Qing with great favor. Even though he had been the Manor Head of a Manor for so many years, his savings were not meagre. At the very least, it was far from something that Yang Qing, who had only been a Manor Head for a few years, could compare to. As soon as Liu Jingtian saw the benefits, he immediately felt that this Yang Qing person was someone whom he could befriend.
Of course, Yang Qing did not relinquish everything. Even though he had won this battle, Zhang Decheng's side hadn't been simply sitting still as they were slaughtered. He couldn't avoid losing a lot of troops, so Yang Qing only asked for one thing—to claim all of Zhang Decheng's subordinates that had surrendered, to replenish his own forces.
After reaping such a large reward, Liu Jingtian wouldn't stop him from taking some minor compensation. He could replenish his own losses slowly over a few years, but the items on Zhang Decheng's body were not something he could simply amass over a few years. He naturally accepted without hesitation.
"Brother Yang, even though you and I are neighbors, I must be clear on some things. Although Zhang Decheng deserved to die, since this incident has unwittingly involved my Suppressing Third Hall, the fault still remains with your Suppressing Second Hall. The superiors will definitely look into this incident, and your Suppressing Second Hall must give us a proper explanation."
Liu Jingtian said to Yang Qing as he rode beside him.
"The matters between the two Hall Masters are not something you and I can stick our heads into. Just let our respective Hall Masters handle it, why should we have to worry?" Yang Qing said. Then, he suddenly brought his head closer and whispered, "Brother Liu, with regards to the two Halls, I have something I would like to ask of you. I hope Brother Liu will be able to help."
"Tell me about it." Liu Jingtian replied.
Yang Qing sighed as he said, "Even though Zhang Decheng has been vanquished and I can already report to my superiors, there is the still the matter of my secretly requesting Brother Liu's assistance. I'm afraid if word got out, some would accuse me of colluding with Suppressing Third Hall. This matter of working with outside parties to strike at one's own forces, no matter where one is, there are bound to be some who would run their mouths without discretion. I'm not sure if I could trouble Brother Liu to write a letter of complaint that I can hand over to my Hall Master when I report to him?
Liu Jingtian was taken aback. He was basically asking him to help 'put in a good word' for him and leave out the matter of him secretly contacting him.
However, Yang Qing's words served as a reminder to him that their two parties had cooperated in battle. If there were some from Suppressing Second Hall that would say Yang Qing had colluded with outsiders, then how could there be none from Suppressing Third Hall that would say that he, Liu Jingtian, had colluded with outsiders as well?
He immediately presented a question, "Then would Brother Yang also write something for me to hand over to my Hall Master?"
"Since Brother Liu has asked, consider it done." replied Yang Qing.
For Yang Qing to bring this matter up first, he naturally expected what the other party would want. Without another word, he brought out a jade archive and imbued his transcendence energy as he began writing. After stamping it with his transcendence seal, he handed it over to Liu Jingtian.
Liu Jingtian received it and gave it a quick read. Yang Qing had first written his apology and the given recompense, then expanded on having failed to control the situation in letting Zhang Decheng run into Suppressing Third Hall territory and wreak havoc. However, after that he complained about him, Liu Jingtian. He said that this was Suppressing Second Hall's affairs, what was the meaning of Liu Jingtian forcefully interfering and killing Suppressing Second Hall's men?
This kind of complaint was undoubtedly praising that he, Liu Jingtian, was capable of protecting a territory, and was able to respond quickly to kill intruders.