Liu Jingtian was quite happy. He kept the jade archive and took out another to write on, before sealing it with his insignia and passing it to Yang Qing.
The contents inside were all damning in nature—accusing Zhang Decheng of actually daring run all the way to his Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor's realm to butcher the troops of his mountain. Zhang Decheng lacked any restraint whatsoever, forcing Liu Jingtian to have no other choice but to pursue and kill him. He demanded that Suppressing Second Hall provide an explanation.
From the beginning to end, he didn't mention the fact that Yang Qing had contacted him in secret and instead, stated that he himself had reacted promptly to pursue and eliminate Zhang Decheng of his own accord.
That man had already invaded his territory, so taking the initiative to eliminate him was normal. Hence, there were no mistakes in the contents to implicate him.
Gripping the jade archive, Yang Qing gradually turned to cast a glance in the direction of where Suppressing Second Hall lay, giving a cold laugh in his heart.
With this item in hand, Zhang Decheng had at last died in vain this time. He could also now pushed the blame of getting outsiders involved on to that dead man, Zhang Decheng, instead. Even Suppressing Third Hall wouldn't be able to investigate and link this matter back to Yang Qing. Thus, he would be innocent.
Regardless of whether the contents inside were justifiable or not—even the men of Suppressing Third Hall had accused Zhang Decheng of wreaking havoc first—that was more than enough to silence them. In all likelihood, after going for wool and coming back shorn, He Yunye's face must be incredibly humiliated right now.
Since He Yunye had already turned on him, there was no need for him to show any regard to He Yunye.
Even though He Yunye's cultivation level was far higher than him, Yang Qing refused to believe that He Yunye would openly slaughter him without fear.
Yang Qing was not a loose cultivator. If he were one, then He Yunye would not suffer any repercussions in killing him. However, the fact remained that Yang Qing was still the head of a Manor. No matter how high He Yunye's cultivation level was, those who have entered this circle would need to abide by the rules of the game. It wasn't up to them to do as they pleased. Otherwise, what was the point of having rules?
It was similar to Xiong Xiao, who really wanted to dispose of Miao Yi, but he only dared to act in the shadows. He didn't yet have the courage to brazenly attack Miao Yi out in the open.
With the result of the war in his hand, Yang Qing refused to believe that Hall Master Huo Lingxiao would be blind to this. He didn't have any grievances with Huo Lingxiao, so the Hall Master had no reason to insist on killing him.
Rather than saying that this war was to defend himself, it was more accurate to say that Yang Qing had fought this war so that Huo Lingxiao, the Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall, would witness it. His aim was to let Huo Lingxiao understand that he, Yang Qing, had complete capability in succeeding the position of Manor Head. Thus, there was no need to assume he was a pushover and instead, it would be best to clutch onto him tightly without letting go. Only then would Huo Lingxiao target the other Manor Heads under Feng Zhihuan instead.
Having already obtained what they wanted, Yang Qing kept the jade archive while exchanging a smile with Liu Jingtian—both of them looked quite smug about the matter.
Liu Jingtian was beyond satisfied; he would never have imagined that he had been ruthlessly manipulated by Yang Qing. Yang Qing had betrayed him, and he was now helping Yang Qing count the spoils.
Yang Qing wasn't afraid of him knowing either. At least for this short moment, he wouldn't understand yet. By the time it finally dawned on him, Yang Qing would have already survived this round. If he wanted to seek vengeance after this, he could strike back with all his might and Yang Qing would accept it with open arms!
But back to the subject at hand. For a man Yang Qing could manipulate like this, he didn't consider Liu Jingtian capable of brewing trouble between the two Halls like him. Stirring up trouble was easy, but the important part was to allow himself to escape the repercussions after that.
In this war, South Edict Manor had suffered a loss of more than three hundred men in total —including the troops lost from Mount Calming Sea. The armies of three mountains were gone just like that.
Liu Jingtian had already lost more than fifty men, not including about a hundred men who had been sacrificed by Yang Qing.
Apart from Zhang Decheng getting killed, more than eight hundred troops under him had perished among over a thousand men. Almost a hundred of them had escaped while about two hundred men had surrendered themselves to South Edict Manor.
With an addition of more than two hundred prisoners, South Edict Manor would have lost just about a hundred men—roughly the losses Qin Weiwei's Mount Calming Sea suffered.
Although Miao Yi wanted to kill Yuan Zhengkun and the others before this, he was now extremely envious as he stared at the cultivators being held captive.
It would be a wonder if he wasn't envious! Wouldn't he just be a Cave Master in name, if he didn't quickly supplement his troops? In the near future of East Arrival Cave, he couldn't just set himself, the Cave Master, to guard the mountain gates, patrol the mountain, and perform menial chores right? How would that work out if he didn't have some men to help him manage the multitude of followers in East Arrival City? Unless he, the Cave Master, stopped cultivating altogether and just focused on hard labour; that was certainly more likely.
Yet he had already been a Cave Master in name only, leading a 'supporting actor' like Yan Xiu. He hadn't had any troops to accept prisoners and, by the time the war was over, the survivors had already been snatched up by others. He had poured in his utmost effort and in the end, didn't manage to score any benefits at all.
He eyed Qin Weiwei who was also standing by helplessly. She needed more men, but she also hadn't had anyone help her receive prisoners because earlier, she has focused on leading her men to charge behind Miao Yi. How would she have extra men to accept the prisoners in this state?
He had been hoping to seek out Qin Weiwei to solve the problem, but from what he could now see, he could no longer count on her. She couldn't even resolve her own issues, so Miao Yi could only think of an alternative solution.
While he was riding and circling around on Charcoal and greenly eyeing others in envy, Miao yi suddenly heard someone transmit a message to him.
He couldn't resist the urge to turn and glance at the group to his side—a familiar face among them caught him by surprise. He realized that it was none other than his old friend, Chen Fei. He appeared to have several wounds on his body and was currently being tended.
Miao Yi was a little overjoyed by the unexpected turn of events. He had thought that Chen Fei was already dead when Yang Qing attacked South Edict Manor, leaving behind Ji Xiufang and her son. He would never have imagined that Chen Fei had also became a surrendered prisoner of war.
Both of them made eye contact; the way that Chen Fei stared at Miao Yi was full of emotions. When Qin Weiwei had been trapped, he had seen how valiant Miao Yi was as he charged in and out alone. From the time that he was just a greenhorn with a wooden spear, he had turned into a man with an imposing presence. After only a couple of years, he was now the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave. Chen Fei was truly ashamed when he reflected on himself again.
Miao Yi was about to head over to greet him, but soon realized that Chen Fei had fallen into the clutches of Mount Shaotai, becoming their prisoner.
He instantly restrained himself from heading over. He didn't dare to request Xiong Xiao to give Chen Fei to him—he couldn't even seize Yuan Zhengkun and the others, let alone Chen Fei. If he requested for Chen Fei from Xiong Xiao, it would definitely bring harm to Chen Fei. If it came to that, he wasn't sure what kind of torture that bastard Xiong Xiao would put Chen Fei through.
"Brother Chen, I have some grievances with the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Shaotai. You've surrendered to him, so it's not appropriate for me to greet you in person. Please forgive me, else I may bring you harm instead."
Miao Yi apologized as he secretly transmitted his message.
Chen Fei then replied, "I saw what happened just now. It's precisely because of that, that I've chosen to transmit a message to you instead. Brother Miao, you've really done well."
"Brother Chen, please don't mock me. Brother Chen should first stay at Mount Shaotai for now. When an opportunity comes, I will get you back."
"There's no need to bother. I am already considered to be very lucky, and fortunate to have survive. It's the same wherever I stay."
"Brother Chen, I have another thing that I need your help with by leaving you in Mount Shaotai. It's about Yuan Zhengkun—those three bastards, I will never forgive them. They caused the death of Cao Dingfeng back then, and troubled me again this time around. Afterwards, please help pay attention to where in Mount Shaotai those three bastards are dispatched to, and find an opportunity to send news to East Arrival Cave."
Chen Fei was stunned; he figured that Miao Yi wanted to teach Yuan Zhengkun a lesson due to the incident at East Arrival Cave. He never thought that the matter involved Cao Dingfeng as well. He couldn't help but ask in return, "Brother Cao died at the hands of Yuang Zhengkun?"
"You were in the dark..." Miao Yi immediately explained everything that happened, when Yuan Zhengkun had forced them to their deaths in the past.
After Chen Fei finished listening, he knitted his brows and exclaimed, "I understand now! Brother Miao, I am afraid that there is one matter that I've failed you in. I was also involved in attacking East Arrival Cave…"
He continued to explain what had transpired from the beginning—when he had gone to find Yan Xiu at East Arrival Cave, to when he had rescued Qian'er and Xue'er after.
On this matter, Miao Yi could understand. However, what made Miao Yi pleasantly surprise was that Qian'er and Xue'er were still alive! He had thought that those two young girls were already dead. It was for this exact reason that he had been hot on Yuan Zhengkun's heels. He instantly asked, "Where are they now?"
"They are by the coast of the East Arrival Cave boundary, hiding inside a dock by the cliffs. They were the ones who chose that place to hide in. According to them, Brother Miao was the one who given the order to build that dock. I assumed that Brother Miao would know where that place is, and easily locate it."
Miao Yi was truly overjoyed. He trusted Chen Fei's words completely, and didn't doubt that those two young girls were still alive. Otherwise, Chen Fei wouldn't have brought up that dock. If the two girls had to choose a hiding place, then it would most likely be there. Why didn't he think to search for them there before?
Miao Yi thanked Chen Fei over and over again. If it wasn't for Chen Fei, the girls wouldn't be alive.
It wasn't safe for them to continue conversing for fear of arousing Xiong Xiao's suspicions. They secretly wished each other well before Miao Yi turned and left.
He didn't know how Qian'er and Xue'er were doing right now; Miao Yi wanted to go seek them out immediately. However, it wasn't appropriate to depart this place just then.
After Yang Qing conversed with Liu Jingtian, he gradually rode his dragon steed before the crowd and swept his gaze slowly across them.
Qing Mei and Qing Ju accompanied him by his sides. Both elder and younger aunties were hurt. Elder Auntie Qing Mei had sustained severe injuries—someone had thrust a spear into her stomach. If Qing Ju hadn't rescued her in time, Qing Mei wouldn't be alive right now.
The gaze that Yang Qing threw at them both held a trace of anguish, but he didn't reveal too much unnecessary emotions right then; his expression was steady and resolute. He calmly lifted the head in his hand, and showed it to the crowd—especially to the disciples from the School of Blue Jade who had been witnessing the battle from the mountains.
"Zhang Decheng's head lies here! We won!" Yang Qing suddenly bellowed with dignity.
In lifting up Zhang Decheng's head, he had officially declared that the war was over, and announced that he had lived up to expectations.
Xiong Xiao and the respective Mountain Chieftains, including Qin Weiwei, dismounted from their dragon steeds and cupped their hands at Yang Qing, roaring in acknowledgement, "MANOR HEAD!"
The others also immediately followed suit, leaping down from their dragon steeds. All the cultivators from South Edict Manor on the scene, including those who had surrendered, faced Yang Qing with their hands cupped and roared, "MANOR HEAD!"
Every one of them invoked their arts, screaming high into the sky; the shockwaves caused dust to billow out in all directions.
The grandness with which all of South Edict Manor had acknowledged their allegiance to Yang Qing, made his entire being feel as though he were high in the clouds—aloof and untouchable—with the ash gray snow-covered mountain at his back.
At this moment, Yang Qing had used the victory from this war to thoroughly established his position in South Edict Manor, raising his reputation in South Edict Manor to new heights.
On the mountain top, every one of the School of Blue Jade's disciples turned pale, especially Elder Hong Changhai—his face was incredibly sour.
Although the Sect Master from the School of Blue Jade had agreed to try and force Yang Qing to submit before the battle, Hong Changhai was the one who had come up with that nasty idea. And that wasn't the least of it, this action had disobeyed the Sect Master's ultimate wish.