Not long after, with a trace of glee on his face, Yang Qing returned to the room. He was about to gesture for both of his subordinates to head back with him, but noticed that one of them was missing. He couldn’t help asking Miao Yi, who had stood up to salute him, "Where’s Xiong Xiao?"
"He got summoned by Elder Auntie."
Taken aback, Yang Qing understood. The reason he’d brought the two of them here this time, wasn’t it due to the Elder Auntie wanting to meet them?
Pressing his hands, he gestured Miao Yi to sit down with him and explain in more detail, preparing themselves to wait for Xiong Xiao to return before they could depart.
Once seated, Yang Qing asked, "Elder Auntie didn’t summon you?"
"I already met her just now with Xiong Xiao. She didn’t even say much to me and told me to come back here. Xiong Xiao was then taken away."
"Oh?" Yang Qing frowned, as he couldn’t make heads or tails of it. He wanted to inquire more in detail, but after seeing that the little handmaiden was still present in the room, he held back from asking more questions, and prepared to wait for Xiong Xiao to return first before asking further.
It didn’t take long and soon, Xiong Xiao came back. His face held a faint trace of happiness. The moment he barged through the door and caught sight of Yang Qing, he froze and quickly saluted him.
Being in the presence of outsiders, Yang Qing stayed quiet. He turned to leave, ordering, "Let’s go!"
The three of them departed from the palace gate, retrieved their mounts and went down the mountain together. The forces of South Edict Manor waited for them at the foot of the mountain.
Although this wasn’t Qin Weiwei’s first time going to Suppressing Second Hall, she had never stepped foot in the grand hall situated at the main peak. It had never crossed her mind that her subordinate Cave Master would enter it before she did, and she threw Miao Yi a slightly perplexed look.
Wu Tong eyed Miao Yi enviously. The other Mountain Chieftains were also gazing at Xiong Xiao in envy.
After everyone welcomed Yang Qing, he galloped away and departed the area, the others in tow.
After exiting the mountain range dwelling of Suppressing Second Hall, they returned to their route. Suddenly, Yang Qing slowed down, turning his head to ask, "Xiong Xiao and Miao Yi shall remain. The others should go on first."
It was obvious to everyone that Yang Qing had some matters to discuss with them in private. However, even though it was within expectations for Xiong Xiao to be detained, for Miao Yi to also be involved seemed a little... The Manor Head really did look at Miao Yi in a different light. Qin Weiwei bit her lips in secret.
Acknowledging the order, everyone made haste to continue, while Yang Qing slowed down to look towards Xiong Xiao and inquire, "What did the Elder Auntie summon you for?"
Xiong Xiao hesitated for a moment before answering, "She brought me to see the Hall Master."
"She brought you to see the Hall Master?" Yang Qing was caught by surprise. Earlier, when he’d wanted to meet with the Hall Master in private, he had been denied entry. Conversely, his subordinate had been summoned to meet him instead. What was the meaning of this? He couldn’t help but continue to ask, "For what purpose did you meet the Hall Master?"
Miao Yi was also scrutinizing Xiong Xiao oddly. A mere Mountain Chieftain like him was given the right to personally meet the Hall Master? Then why was he stopped from going? He wanted to see what the Hall Master looked like, too. Could it be that in the Hall Master’s eyes, there was a huge difference between a Cave Master and a Mountain Chieftain?
Xiong Xiao faltered, "The Hall Master inquired about Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor and their involvement during the battle with Zhang Decheng."
Void of emotions, Yang Qing probed, "Did you tell him the truth?"
Xiong Xiao said with gritted teeth, "I didn’t dare to conceal the truth from the Hall Master. Manor Head, please punish me!"
"Forget about it. What’s done is done. I’m sure the Hall Master already knew about this matter." Yang Qing appeared to be indifferent about it. He then added, "Is there anything else apart from this?"
"After I answered honestly, the Hall Master rewarded me with two mid-grade Orbs of Will before sending me back. There isn’t anything else."
Xiong Xiao replied carefully, but hesitated from sharing all the details. He held back from mentioning that Huo Lingxiao expressed his admiration for Xiong Xiao’s abilities, and that he would be promoted once his cultivation base increased.
He already held the position of Mountain Chieftain. What would a promotion mean then? Wouldn’t that mean he’d be a Manor Head?
The whole situation kept Xiong Xiao in a constant state of delight. One could see that Huo Lingxiao had effortlessly planted a seed in Xiong Xiao’s heart. Should a chance arise, sooner or later the seed would blossom and bear fruit.
Except that, he would never dare to inform Yang Qing about this.
Yang Qing tilted his head slightly, glancing at Xiong Xiao with a calm expression. When he turned around, however, he gazed sharply into the distance, his eyes deeply filled with suspicion. It was unclear how much he really trusted in Xiong Xiao’s words.
As someone who had been fought over by two Hall Masters, he, Yang Qing, was naturally not a simpleton. Huo Lingxiao’s position and cultivation may be higher than his, but when it came to skills and strategems, Yang Qing wasn’t necessarily inferior to Huo Lingxiao. He might even surpass him in that respect.
To Yang Qing, the true meaning behind some of Huo Lingxiao’s moves couldn’t be considered as brilliant. He could see through them with just a single glance.
Although he didn’t know what exactly had been discussed between Huo Lingxiao and Xiong Xiao, he was aware that their meeting had resulted in a link being formed between Xiong Xiao and the Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall.
The logic behind this was simple. It meant that Xiong Xiao was now acquainted with the Hall Master and had conversed with him in private.
For instance, for the rich and influential households in the secular world, it was perhaps difficult for an ordinary commoner to enter and meet with the master of the household. However, if they had a prior connection beforehand, that was a different matter altogether.
If they paid the master another visit, the servants would naturally announce their arrival. Otherwise, nobody would know who they were. It wasn’t as if a mere commoner like them could meet the master of a large mansion just because they wanted to. Did they even have the right to meet the master? The servants would have asked that person to leave the premises without even declaring their arrival.
From Xiong Xiao’s viewpoint, the situation was the same. Under normal circumstances, what right did a small Mountain Chieftain like him have to meet the Hall Master? If there were any matters to be addressed, it should have been handled by the Manor Head.
As for the future, whether the Hall Master would request Xiong Xiao’s presence again, that would all depend on Xiong Xiao’s performance...
Yang Qing sneered in his heart and didn’t question Xiong Xiao any further. He gradually relaxed his perplexed gaze, before turning to look towards Miao Yi. He then asked, "Since Elder Auntie called for you too, why did she ask you to head back?"
Miao Yi was slightly at a loss for words. Like hell he knew why. He was only a lowly Cave Master. The complexity involved with the higher ups was considered too far-fetched for him currently.
"It’s most likely that he realized my position was too low to warrant a meeting. Hmm, maybe when I become a Mountain Chieftain, he might want to meet me then."
He boasted without shame, and earnestly declared his intention for a Mountain Chieftain’s seat. He didn’t even think about the likelihood of a person becoming Mountain Chieftain just because they wished for it. Even if he did become a Mountain Chieftain, not every Mountain Chieftain could guarantee a meeting with the Hall Master upon request. It should be borne in mind that there were many Mountain Chieftains who had yet to pass through the main palace gate of Suppressing Second Hall, Qin Weiwei included.
Inwardly, Xiong Xiao cursed Miao Yi for overestimating his own capabilities without any sense of shame.
On the other hand, Yang Qing was unable to restrain a smile. This brat made it seem like he’d be a Mountain Chieftain sooner or later. Daring to talk of this in the presence of a Manor Head? He really didn’t care about concealing his own ambitions.
However, Miao Yi’s character had always been to his liking. He was immoral, yet was consistent in nature. He reeked of the common townsfolk, and placed great value in both affection and loyalty. If one understood his temperament, then it was easy to get along with him, so Yang Qing didn’t need to worry much.
However, Yang Qing was more or less still puzzled. Since both had been called forth, surely the Hall Master wouldn’t reject meeting one of them because of his lowly position? He couldn’t hold back the question, "Brat, did you do something wrong or say something you shouldn’t have said?"
Miao was hit by a pang of guilt. He almost did cause trouble, so he laughed dryly, "I’m an honest man. You should know that by now. What sort of misdeeds could I possibly do?"
Yang Qing rolled his eyes and asked, "You consider yourself an honest man?"
Inwardly, Yang Qing censured his actions. That bastard had destroyed his own mountain gates and pinned the blame onto his own subordinates. He’d even taken the opportunity to kill his own subordinate—so honest, my ass!
"Of course!" Miao Yi guaranteed. Instead, he cast his gaze at Xiong Xiao, revealing a mocking look. "I’m not some filthy scum who acts one way in front of a person, and another way behind their back. He swears that he’s fine on the surface, but then delivers fatal blows from the shadows."
It wasn’t news that he and Xiong Xiao didn’t get along. And it wasn’t as though Yang Qing didn’t know this as well. At every opportunity, Miao Yi never hesitated to provoke him.
Xiong Xiao glared daggers at him. "Who are you talking about? You’d better watch your mouth!"
Miao Yi instantly countered. "I’m not even talking about you, so why are you replying? What are you feeling guilty about? What, are you looking for a fight?" Without saying anything more, he flashed out the Inversed-Scale Spear in his hand, pointing it at Xiong Xiao’s nose and yelled, "Filthy scum! Are you bold enough to fight me to the death?!"
This was too sudden! Xiong Xiao was rendered speechless. It wasn’t meant to turn out this way, so for a moment, he didn’t know how to react...
But soon, he also took out his blade and brandished it, saying with uncontrollable anger, "As if I’m scared of you!"
"Manor Head, you’ve seen it. I’m not talking about him and yet he insists that I must be. He’s the one who started this fight, so if I happen to hurt him by accident, I’m not…"
"SILENCE!" Yang Qing roared sternly. "Both of you can fight to your heart's content if you don’t want to work for South Edict Manor anymore!"
As he said this, he shot a merciless glare at Miao Yi. He realized that this brat was getting more and more rebellious. A mere Cave Master dared to challenge a Mountain Chieftain so brazenly.
Miao Yi hurriedly and obediently put away the Inversed-Scale Spear and pretended to be an obedient, honest man. Well, he had to act more obedient than Xiong Xiao, at least.
He knew a fight wouldn’t break out if Yang Qing was present. He only intended to provoke Xiong Xiao into striking out at him, and then he would have the excuse to lead his troops and wreck havoc on Xiong Xiao’s territory. Otherwise, by the time spring arrived, bringing with it warmer weather, then what would happen to those corpses hanging in East Arrival Cave?
Xiong Xiao was angry beyond measure, dying to skin Miao Yi alive. At the same time, regret filled his heart as to why he had provoked the wrath of such a troublesome bastard to begin with?
However, what happened then was then. At the time, Xiong Xiao honestly hadn’t expected he’d face any difficulty in killing Miao Yi and had assumed he could get rid of him effortlessly and without any issues. In order to exact revenge on behalf of his handmaiden, he wasn’t opposed to making a fool of Miao Yi. Instead, he’d stirred up more trouble for himself, and was being frequently slandered as filthy scum. If this went on, Xiong Xiao was going to become the joke of South Edict Manor.
If he had known all this from the start, either he would have avoided Miao Yi entirely, or unleashed his full power to kill him off in one sweep when he had the chance...
The troops made their way unhindered, rushing towards Ever Peace Manor. Yang Qing didn’t dismiss the Mountain Chieftains and had instead summoned them to discuss matters of importance.
This didn’t apply to Miao Yi. After Qin Weiwei said that they could return to their respective lands, Miao Yi did not behave like Gongsun Yu, who had waited for her at Ever Peace Manor so that he could protect her from harm and escort her back.
If not for his line of duty, Miao Yi would love nothing more than for Qin Weiwei to die an early death. Since his own forces were massive in number, he might even become the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Calming Sea. Who would have guessed that his forces would end up being the greatest in the entirety of Mount Calming Sea? The feeling of having an army for his own use was superb!
He cupped his hands at Gongsun Yu when they ran into each other, laughing on the surface while slandering the illicit couple in his heart.
Afterwards, he immediately departed with Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan, who had been temporarily stationed at Ever Peace Manor.
Both were first-rate, elite bodyguards from East Arrival Cave, and if the circumstances allowed it, then he’d never let them go. After spending so many resources on them, he wasn’t going to let his efforts to support them be in vain. He’d taken great pains to obtain those cultivation resources. He needed to quickly think of a way to deal with Xiong Xiao, he couldn’t afford to delay it any further...