It turned out that Su Biao’s storage ring had 156 low-grade Orbs of Will; and if all his crystal coins were changed into Gold Crystals, it would amount to almost 400,000 Gold Crystals. He even had two first grade Yao Cores, and a few ungraded Yao Cores; he had no idea whether Su Biao was keeping them to refine transcendent artifacts or not. He didn’t bother counting the rest of the items for the time being.
As it was, if all of these were taken into account—just by killing Su Biao—not only did he earn back his previous losses, he even made a profit!
Miao Yi was deep in thought. It seemed that strengthening his troops wasn’t simply an expense. So long as they often engaged in battle, and ensured that they won most of them, it seemed like a possible path to riches. It was much safer than risking his life in the Sea of Constellations!
Needless to say, Miao Yi pocketed Su Biao’s storage ring in one quick movement.
Even though he was tempted by the rest of the items as well, he knew that he couldn’t expect to ‘Let the horses run without feeding them’. He still had to give rewards when it was necessary.
It was not easy for a Cave Master with low cultivation like him to lead a group of experts. The hearts of the subordinates were important. It was crucial to give them rewards—especially since he still needed them to risk their lives afterwards.
He swiftly distributed the remaining items to everyone according to their achievements.
Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan naturally had the greatest achievements for killing Mount Returning Loyalty’s Mountain Chieftain Su Biao. All the Orbs of Will from the five deceased Cave Masters were distributed to the two of them. The remaining spoils were divided among the others according to their respective levels, and finally, the remaining six storage rings given to six with the highest cultivations.
After everyone received such a huge windfall—with the rewards of a single battle greater than their entire annual earnings—other than the absurdly wealthy Miao Yi, who understood how vast the ‘world’ was; they were all visibly excited. Quite a number of them even secretly hoped that a few more parties would be foolish enough to send themselves right to their doorsteps just like this.
However, all of them knew that the other party simply hadn’t realized the depths of East Arrival Cave’s strength before charging over. It wasn’t possible to have such a good fortune all the time. If they truly waited until the other party was fully aware of their capabilities—it would be after they were done making ample preparations, and most likely spell ill tidings for everyone. At the moment, the forces of East Arrival Cave were still weaker to each Manors’ forces.
Truth be told, if Mount Returning Loyalty’s Mountain Chieftain Su Biao had come prepared, the results of this battle would still be anyone’s guess.
Miao Yi gathered the injured together, then plucked out a leaf from the Glorious Star Immortal Herb and blew out clouds of stardust. After treating them, he reorganized his subordinates once more.
With Yan Xiu temporarily sheltering Qian’Er and Xue’Er at the beachside dock, and out of the twenty men, three were dead; two were out scouting the enemy, and he left one behind to bring the injured prisoner of war into the depths of the mountain, and hide him there. Right now, he only had fourteen subordinates remaining at his disposal.
The others couldn’t understand why he had to specifically assign someone to hide the prisoner of war in the mountain depths. Lai Yuhan cast a glance towards his fellow Sect member bringing the prisoner into the mountain, and couldn’t help but ask, "Cave Master. What is the purpose of this?"
He didn’t expect Miao Yi to dodge the question by scoffing, "That filthy bastard Xiong Xiao has crossed the line! To have masked men ambush us—this is an act of revenge for Changfeng Cave!"
The rest were taken aback. They looked at each other as they thought, ‘This and that are two different matters, what nonsense is this?’
Lai Yuhan cautiously repeated, "Could the Cave Master be thinking that Xiong Xiao colluded with the men from Mount Returning Loyalty to ambush us?"
"No! Xiong Xiao was the one who ambushed us!" Miao Yi asserted. He turned around and asked, "Yuan Fang, what do you think of this?"
"..." Yuan Fang was speechless. Unsure of how he should answer, he replied, "Cave Master, I’m afraid we will not be able to stay in this place much longer. We still don’t know if the enemy intends to take further action. If they come prepared this time, I’m afraid we may not be able to defend against it. Let us retreat from charging in for now, and decide on our next step once reinforcements have come from the Manor Head."
Miao Yi nodded, and said, "You’re right! Everyone, heed my orders. We must not stay here any longer—follow me to Mount Shaotai! We will take revenge on that filthy bastard Xiong Xiao!"
Everyone was once again at a loss for words. ‘Mount Returning Loyalty was the one that ambushed us. Why should we seek out Xiong Xiao for revenge?’
However, seeing the Cave Master already signalling with his arm, and taking the lead by charging away on his dragon steed; the rest of them could only hastily follow.
In the cave of a nearby mountain, Yao Ruoxian eyed the forces that were departing and shook his head, saying, "A mere East Arrival Cave could also be this tumultuous….."
Fifteen steeds sprinted under the dim morning light, kicking up clouds of snow with their hooves as they thundered forth. Miao Yi led the way, the battle armor on both man and steed had been put away, and he was now moving forth in a light getup.
Hastily following behind to flank the Great Cave Master Miao, were Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan. In the end, they couldn’t stop themselves from saying, "Cave Master. That war prisoner already clearly confessed that the ones who ambushed us were Mount Returning Loyalty’s forces, and not Xiong Xiao’s."
Atop of Charcoal, Miao Yi’s figure shook slightly as he galloped along the path. He stoically replied, "I have no enmity with Mount Returning Loyalty, so they would not ambush me without reason. This is surely the plot of that filthy bastard Xiong Xiao."
Lai Yuhan was beginning to be annoyed, and earnestly advised, "Cave Master, I believe it may not be so. They came for Mountain Chieftain Qin. The enemy was trying to take revenge against Manor Head. This shouldn’t involve Xiong Xiao at all."
All of them were clearly not fools. Even though they had not spoken it aloud, they knew what was going on.
Seeing how his men had laid everything out, Miao Yi shot back with his own question, "So what you are saying, is that you want me to lead the meager forces of East Arrival Cave to attack Mount Returning Loyalty? What if Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor’s Manor Head Liu Jingtian has made preparations? With just us charging over, would that not be courting death?"
The topic immediately shifted towards Liu Jingtian. To his left and right, Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan glanced at one another, realising that the Cave Master had been aware of everything all along—he was just playing the fool!
Miao Yi added, "With just our forces, we will not be able to defeat Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. It is better to wait for the Manor Head to gather his forces before launching a counterattack. Our heads are not tough enough to bear the consequences of interfering with affairs that involved the two Manors. It is better to observe the situation for now…."
He soon changed the subject, and began cursing, "Goddamnit, that Xiong Xiao has become more of a coward. He clearly knows that it was I who ambushed Changfeng Cave, yet he was able to keep his composure instead of seeking me out for revenge. Men like these, who know when to yield and when not to, are truly fearsome; and his status within the two Manors is much higher than mine. If I do not take this chance to eliminate him now, he will eventually come back to bite me. Since he will not come and seek me out, I will use this chance to find him, and end him first! As for Mount Returning Loyalty… that son of a bitch, Ever Peace Manor already used my East Arrival Cave as the opening act for their attack. Now, even Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor is doing the same. What do they think my East Arrival Cave is? Do they think I am some weakling that is easy to bully? They will soon see—all the grievances that I have suffered today, I will claim it back from Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor one day. If I do not show everyone how tough my East Arrival Cave is, there will be no end to this! It is ridiculous that my East Arrival Cave has been so longed for by everyone day after day. There is no way I can continue being so tense with worry every single day!
On this, Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan could sympathize. They also felt that this East Arrival Cave really was too unfortunate. Forces as large as Ever Peace Manor and Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor would always treat East Arrival Cave like a weed that they could step at any time; it would certainly be hard for anyone to accept. Whoever was the East Arrival Cave Master would always be wracked with nerves.
However, the two of them believed that even though the incident this time involved Qin Weiwei, it was most likely related to the geographical location of East Arrival Cave as well. Since it was in the middle of the two Manors, it was the best place to spark a blaze.
Who could deny it? The Great Cave Master Miao had not known, because his foresight had been limited in the past. After he gained more experience, he roughly understood now, and was filled with regret. He could have had it nice and easy as the Cave Master of Transient Light Cave—why did he decide to run to East Arrival Cave? Now he barely had any time to cultivate in peace. So long as there was the slightest rustle in the wind, he would be the first to be alarmed. These days had been quite harsh on him, leaving him more than a little distressed.
However, South Edict Manor was not his home after all. He couldn’t choose to be transferred wherever he pleased. Even if he was willing, the other party might not be. He couldn’t just complain that East Arrival Cave was too dangerous, and ask Yang Qing to transfer him again so that someone else could take the brunt of it . He still wanted to be promoted to Mountain Chieftain, so it would not be favorable to earn the contempt of the others.
After a fit of whinging to his subordinates, Miao Yi drew out a jade archive, and invoked his arts to start writing a report whilst he rode his steed.
The contents denounced Xiong Xiao—saying that he had deployed a large number of masked men to attack East Arrival Cave—and asked the superiors to right this injustice for him.
Once he was done writing, he grasped the jade archive in hand and said, "Spirit Eagle!"
Yuan Fang signalled to the back with his arm. A cultivator quickly came forward with an eagle’s cage slung on his back. He lifted the spirit eagle from the cage, and placed Miao Yi’s jade archive into the tube at its leg; then quickly released it into the skies.
All of them looked up to the skies; the screech of the spirit eagle rang out into the lightening sky as it swiftly flew away.
Yuan Fang withdrew his gaze, and asked, "Cave Master. If we kill Xiong Xiao, I am afraid we won’t be able to explain ourselves to Manor Head! For someone in a Cave Master position such as yourself to act on your own accord and kill a Mountain Chieftain, it would be trouble regardless of how you rationalise it."
Miao Yi coldly replied, "Then we shall continue to wear masks then."
Lai Yuhan furrowed his brows and added, "Even if we cover our faces, I am afraid that the Manor Head will be able to deduce that we are behind it."
"We just helped the Manor Head’s adopted daughter escape misfortune, and even achieved an overwhelming victory. We will not ask the Manor Head to reward us, but you can’t tell me that he will easily punish a meritorious subordinate? Where is the compassion in that!? We have to at least be able to persuade him with some superficial reasoning. When the time comes, just say that we fell for Mount Returning Loyalty’s trap. We can use that prisoner of war well!"
The Great Cave Master Miao seemed to be slowly grasping how to use the rules of the game to his own benefit, and was beginning to excel at it….
At Mount Calming Sea—upon her return, Qin Weiwei hadn’t rested for long after her shower, before she received a message from East Arrival Cave. She was utterly shocked. She didn’t think that after her departure from East Arrival Cave last night, something of this sort would happen. She furrowed her brows as she paced about beside her couch.
She did not doubt that there was anything wrong with the message from East Arrival Cave. It was not possible to keep such a large battle a secret.
To her side, Hong Mian had a furious expression as she shouted, "Xiong Xiao has gone too far! To actually deploy his forces to attack Mount Calming Sea’s territory. Does he not know this is the Mountain Chieftain’s domain? It is fortunate that Mountain Chieftain had promptly returned last night. Otherwise, if something went wrong, I would like to see how that Xiong Xiao explains himself to the Manor Head!"
Lu Liu also angrily said, "Clearly Xiong Xiao was trying to take revenge against Miao Yi for that incident at Changfeng Cave. But why did he not see whose territory East Arrival Cave belongs to? This Xiong Xiao is too arrogant!"
Qin Weiwei had a cold expression on her face. She also believed that Xiong Xiao wasn’t giving her face—to actually launch an attack on her territory! This was not simply disrespecting her position, but disrespecting Manor Head Yang Qing.
Her pacing stopped. Xiong Xiao was Manor Head Yang Qing’s trusted aide, and another Mountain Chieftain just like her—she had no authority to punish him. She immediately wrote a report, and handed it over to Lu Liu to send over to Ever Peace Manor. It was still up to Yang Qing to make the final decision on this matter!
They never would have expected that soon after their message was sent out, Ever Peace Manor’s own messenger spirit eagle would arrive. After bring over the jade archive and reading it, Qin Weiwei was once again taken by shock.