The key problem related to the rules of recruitment. Each domain couldn’t just accept anyone. They usually didn’t dare to simply accept cultivators of unknown origin because once something went wrong—such as recruiting spies from other nations; the person who made the recommendation would take the blame. Hence, unless they had a really had a good relationship with each other, they usually wouldn’t recommend just anyone to join.
Thinking back, Cao Dingfeng had first recommended Miao Yi’s entry into Transient Light Cave, purely because of his good relationship with Chen Fei—he trusted him. Following which, it was because Cao Dingfeng had put in a few good words and asked Cave Master Zhang, that Miao Yi’s name was added to the registry records. Only then was Miao Yi able to join Transient Light Cave.
Replenishing manpower was usually done by taking in prisoners that had capitulated—so when accidents did occur, they wouldn’t be blamed for it. Instead, they could easily shift the blame onto the losing party of the war for their poor screening.
Apart from this, another option was to recruit disciples from the other sects. If a spy was found among the sect disciples recruited, then the sect who recommended the disciple to join would need to bear responsibility.
It was reported that the reason why they preferred accepting sect disciples, was linked to the Six Sages’ desire to use the Orbs of Will to absorb the sect’s power into the system. It was to make them butcher each other as they fought for territory within the system, weakening themselves and stunting their influence—preventing them from threatening the Six Sage’s positions.
Despite the fact that most of them understood this, they still couldn’t resist the temptation of the Orbs of Will. After all, once they entered the system, there would still a chance for them to excel.
Thus in Miao Yi’s point of view, even if he did manage to obtain men to replenish his troops, his relationship with Qin Weiwei had never been well—the men would simply be given to the other abodes first. That villainous Gongsun Yu who always stuck by Qin Weiwei would be the first one to gain from this, and Miao Yi’s East Arrival Cave would only get his turn last. Furthermore, that vile woman, Qin Weiwei, would most likely refuse to replenish his troops just to get back at him. As the Cave Master, he seriously couldn’t imagine how long he would be doing menial tasks in East Arrival Cave.
He tightened his lips in Elder Hong’s direction and asked, "Is that necessary? They have hundreds of men there, readily available. What’s wrong with simply recruiting some of them?"
Gongsun Yu eyed the expressionless Qin Weiwei before turning to reveal a bitter smile as he replied, "Cave Master Miao. Even if you want to recruit them, they wouldn’t dare join."
Miao Yi failed to understand the reason, so he didn’t believe his words. "It’s because both parties turned against each other and we have refused their entry, correct?"
He shot a glance at Qin Weiwei and sarcastically said, "If someone has the courage to yield, I will immediately head there and replenish the troops in East Arrival Cave."
In his opinion, who among all the cultivators in the world wouldn’t want to enter the system, to share in the world’s power of will?
Gongsun Yu was caught between laughter and tears. It wasn’t his place to explain that the reason why the School of Blue Jade’s men were afraid of joining them, was because the Mano Head would beat them down—they would only throw their lives away at South Edict Manor without any chance of a promotion.
After listening to Miao Yi’s words practically dripping with sarcasm, Qin Weiwei knew the ‘someone’ he was talking about was her. She grit her pearly whites and swept him a chilling gaze as she scoffed, "If you can manage it, then by all means, go and recruit them."
Miao Yi’s eyes instantly gleamed, "Mountain Chieftain, are you serious?"
Qin Weiwei casted a fiery gaze at him. "Do you really take me for the type of despicable person who would go back on their word?"
The words she spat out now had a different tone to how she would have treated Miao Yi in the past.
"No. No. How could Mountain Chieftain be despicable?" Miao Yi quickly waved his hands and chuckled happily. "I’m just worried that umm…, what if I were to replace the men of East Arrival Cave with disciples from the School of Blue Jade, and hand in the registry afterwards, only to have you refusing to report it to the superiors? I wouldn’t be able to explain myself to the School of Blue jade. They might even think I was just fooling with them."
This was obviously saying that he was still worried someone was a despicable person who would break her promise.
Angered, Qin Weiwei ground her teeth and replied, "As long as the disciples from the School of Blue Jade have the courage to join, you can rope in as many as you want. I will approve and report accordingly—provided that they do not make any demands, and simply enter like regular cultivators!"
"Cave Master Gongsun! Mountain Chieftain words carries weight—you all heard what she said!"
After Miao Yi asked for everyone to bear witness, he excitedly put his hands together—the armor on both his and Charcoal’s body transformed into silver mist before entering the storage ring. He turned Charcoal around, making a beeline straight to where the disciples of the School of Blue Jade were.
All the Cave Masters were rendered speechless; they had no clue where Miao Yi had gotten such extravagant equipment from.
Everyone’s gaze trailed after Cave Master Miao’s departing figure as he excitedly bounced towards the School of Blue Jade. They shook their heads, thinking to themselves that the Cave Master Miao would need a rude awakening to change...
Hong Changhai had led his group of men to a location not far away, and was still staring at the direction where Yang Qing and his men had gone—lost in his train of thoughts. How would he explain to the Sect Master when he returned? How on earth would he explain to the entire School of Blue Jade?
The thundering hooves of a galloping dragon steed pulled him back from his thoughts. He turned his head to see, and a look of shock appeared on his face.
Back then in South Edict Manor, Hong Changhai had met Miao Yi before.
Miao Yi also knew who he was; it was just that he had never greeted him before. Thus, he came to halt before Hong Changhai and said with cupped fists. "East Arrival Cave Miao Yi has come to greet Elder Hong."
Towards this man whom the School of Blue Jade wanted to groom into their spy, Hong Changhai was naturally familiar with him, since he had been involved in the matter from the shadows.
Shooting a glance to where Qin Weiwei and the rest were, he cupped his hands lightly. "So you’re Cave Master Miao. I heard that the School of Blue Jade’s disciples at East Arrival Cave had been gone with Cave Master Miao for a long time. May I know where they are now?"
For him to just open his mouth and shoot straight into this matter—Miao Yi’s lips couldn’t help but give a slight twitch. He sighed, "I am ashamed! They weren’t able to escape during the battle of East Arrival Cave. I came here especially to inform you."
It turned out he was here to inform him of this matter. Hong Changhai gave a nod to himself in his thoughts, feeling that this Cave Master Miao was more sincere—much better than that ungrateful Yang Qing.
He didn’t suspect that there were other reasons as a lot of disciples from the School of Blue Jade had perished in the recent battle. That those lot from East Arrival Cave hadn’t survived the ordeal wasn’t unreasonable. He was rather glum as he said, "So they have fallen in battle for South Edict Manor. Unfortunately, Manor Head Yang…"
The words he had yet to say were easy to guess even for a mindless pair of buttocks; he was definitely reproaching Yang Qing for being heartless and unjust.
However, Miao Yi held no concern for these things, and immediately asked, "Elder Hong, I have a piece of good news to tell you."
Hong Changhai was caught off guard by his words. "Good news? What good news?"
He was fairly suspicious. Their relation with South Edict Manor had already turned sour—what other good news could come of it?
Miao Yi watched the men behind Hong Changhai and smiled, "Both the School of Blue Jade and I are considered old friends. During that time, I’ve frequently heard about the School of Blue Jade from Zheng Jinlong, and have long come to respect you. As the saying goes, benefits should always be shared among one’s own people. Now that I am lacking in men at East Arrival Cave, I thought of you first. Those who wish to come to East Arrival Cave, you can leave with me now. There’s no need to be courteous about it."
In his eyes, they should be happy that he was willing to allow them to join East Arrival Cave, and become a member of the system to share in the world’s Orbs of Will. There were countless cultivators who wanted to join but were unable to. Miao Yi had shown up to proactively attract customers, expecting them to be overjoyed at the opportunity.
Little did he imagine that the men before him now weren’t looking happy at all. Instead, they were all stunned, thinking that this bastard was here to make a fool out of them. Their relationship had already gone sour with Yang Qing, and Miao Yi still wanted them to join?
‘Such a bullshit news!’ Hong Changhai was beginning to suspect whether this bastard was truly a fool, or that he had come here especially to make a joke out of them. He had a strong impulse to spit in Miao Yi’s face.
But after seeing that Miao appeared normal and didn’t seem intent on screwing with them, Hong Changhai’s eyes flickered a little. He puzzled over what Miao Yi had said, and felt that there was another hidden meaning!
Just now Miao Yi mentioned that both he and the School of Blue Jade were old friends. Then, he went on to mention that Zheng Jinlong had often talked about the School of Blue Jade. He even went on to say that benefits should always be shared among one’s own people… Thinking up to this point, Hong Changhai thought that he understood what Miao Yi was hinting it. Keeping in mind that Zheng Jinlong and the others had been working to groom Miao Yi into a spy—could it be…?
The more he thought about it, the more possible it sounded. Elder Hong shot another glance at Qin Weiwei and her group in the distance, before starting hesitantly, "Will Yang Qing agree?"
Miao Yi cut straight to it. "Since the Manor Head is not here, it’s the same if Mountain Chieftain Qin agree to it!"
Astonished, Elder Hong asked, "Did Qin Weiwei ask you to come here?"
Miao Yi made it seem as though he had been seriously looking out for them as he sighed, "Do you think she would actually ask me to come here? She refused in the beginning. I talked her into giving her approval. Now that she’s being bullheaded and won’t go back on her word, be quick! Otherwise, once she calms down later, you may not be able to join anymore."
Elder Hong was still undecided, pondering over what Miao Yi was trying to do, and whether it was as he suspected.
Seeing that he wasn’t being frank, Miao Yi laughed coldly to himself. Hadn’t this guy come all this way for the sake of getting back into the system? Now he was putting on such an outrageous pretense!
"If you’re not willing to join, then that’s settled. I will go find someone else." Miao Yi bluntly turned to leave. He didn’t want to deal with the other side’s issues.
"Wait!" shouted Elder Hong, raising his hand.
Joy filled Miao Yi’s heart. How many cultivators in the world dreamed of getting such a chance? He was very sure that the other side was reluctant to give it up. Now that he had actually come up to them with the chance—who would let go of the opportunity?
With an expressionless face, he turned around again. "What do you need of me, Elder Hong?"
A look of determination flashed across Hong Changhai’s eyes. As it it was, he wouldn’t be able to explain himself if he returned. He needed to find a way to deal with the current problem. Since the School of Blue Jade had received a classified report that this brat was secretly at odds with Yang Qing, for now—regardless of whether it was true or not—Hong Changhai decided to place a bet on Miao Yi. It was far better than just making a mess of matters and returning empty-handed.
"How many men do you want?" Hong Changhai asked, gritting his teeth.
That was indeed a problem. Miao Yi fell deeply into his own train of thoughts. Naturally, he was eager to have thousands upon thousands of men serving under him, but that wasn’t realistic—he wouldn’t be able to support them. However, he was still capable of supporting dozens of them right now.
Yet, as a mere Cave Master, wouldn’t supporting dozens be too brazenly conspicuous? Miao Yi threw a backwards glance at Qin Weiwei. The current esteemed Mountain Chieftain, Qin Weiwei, only had about twenty men under her. Although Qin Weiwei said she would help to approve and report as many as he could roped in, it wasn’t appropriate for him to to be too excessive.
Miao Yi lifted up two fingers, and cautiously asked, "How about giving me twenty men?"
Hong Changhai was stunned. He cried out in surprise. "A mere East Arrival Cave can support so many people? Can you really do it?"
He was clearly meant that letting the disciples from the School of Blue Jade join East Arrival Cave wouldn’t be free labour.
"You don’t have to worry about that!" Miao Yi glanced at the men behind Hong Changhai and asked, "What cultivation levels are the men Elder Hong have brought here?"
Hong Changhai casually introduced them, "Those here are all elite disciples from the School of Blue Jade. The ones with the lowest cultivation level here are at White Lotus Third Grade. There are three hundred and thirty men who have cultivations at White Lotus Third Grade to Fifth Grade, while fifty eight of them are at sixth grade to ninth grade. As for men of the Purple Lotus realm, there’s twelve of them."
Miao Yi was shocked beyond measure. The School of Blue Jade’s strength truly couldn’t be underestimated. It was no wonder that he couldn’t catch sigh of any youths whilst studying the four hundred men before him. They were all aged, since they didn’t have any Orbs of Will to draw on—he had no idea how many decades each one of them had been cultivating for.