As he expected—not long after, a thunderous tremor came from afar.
Everyone’s gaze was drawn over to it, and caught sight of Yang Qing leading an over two thousand strong army from the two Manors, on a thunderous charge in the night.
Yang Qing was a little thrown when he saw the confrontation happening from afar. ‘What is that brat doing, gathering a few dozen men in the center?’
The moment he caught sight of Xiong Xiao’s forces, Yang Qing’s face darkened considerably—he could roughly guess what had happened.
After he received Xiong Xiao’s report that mentioned Miao Yi had charged to Mount Shaotai and killed his two personal handmaidens, Yang Qing already knew then that Xiong Xiao would not leave the matter be. If Yang Qing were in his shoes, he wouldn’t have been able to take it lying down either. This time around, Miao Yi had really crossed the line.
Thus, Yang Qing hadn’t sent a missive to stop Xiong Xiao after receiving the report—he knew it would be too late to put a stop to it. After all, an esteemed Mountain Chieftain being cut to a sorry state by a mere Cave Master; it went without saying that Yang Qing should indulge Xiong Xiao this once. He could only see whether Miao Yi would manage to escape this time around. However, he assumed that Miao Yi wouldn’t be so easily resigned to his fate.
Sure enough, just as before, that brat Miao Yi was still alive and well. He hadn’t disappointed him at all.
Seeing Yang Qing arriving with his formidable army in tow, Xiong Xiao swiftly turned back with his men. He cupped his fists at Yang Qing, before leading his men to join the army’s battle formation.
The over two thousand strong army swiftly took its position on the battlefield opposite Liu Jingtian’s army, with Yang Qing as the center of their formation. To Yang Qing’s left and right, were the ten respective Mountain Chieftains, and behind them were the three Blue Lotus experts from the three great sects. Immediately behind Yang Qing, six Blue Lotus experts fanned out to guard him.
Turning to look, Miao Yi’s heart quivered. Yang Qing was capable of affording, and supporting more men after tapping into the cultivation resources of two Manors. The current Yang Qing had really grown to have a powerful and well-disciplined army.
Yang Qing glanced coldly at Liu Jingtian across from him, before gradually turning his gaze on to Qin Weiwei, beside him.
Qin Weiwei caught the hint, and shouted out an order, "East Arrival Cave Master. Come forth and report!"
Miao Yi immediately scrambled forward with his men. With Yang Qing being right here, he was safe. It was impossible for Xiong Xiao to make a move on him in Yang Qing’s presence.
"East Arrival Cave’s Cave Master has come to pay his respects to Manor Head and Mountain Chieftain!" After cupping his fists at Yang Qing, he cupped his fists at Qin Weiwei.
On the opposite side, Liu Jingtian drew in breath of cold air. He never expected Yang Qing to have so many men serving under him. Didn’t they say that although Yang Qing was governing two Manors, his army hadn’t been replenished yet?
Liu Jingtian laughed heartily, and called out, "Brother Yang! We meet again!"
The current circumstance was of greater import than his personal interests. Before, he desired to seek vengeance from Yang Qing—yet look at him now, he was welcoming Yang Qing with a smile on his face; as if he had forgotten the enmity they had between them.
Yang Qing merely threw him a cold gaze, before ignoring him and glared at Miao Yi, "Who attacked East Arrival Cave? Tell me the truth. If there is even a single false word, you will be executed!"
The tone of his voice did not leave any room for doubt. If any discrepancy was really found, after saying such words in public, he would definitely execute Miao Yi without mercy!
Miao Yi had already begun pointing his finger at Xiong Xiao. However, after seeing that baleful look on Yang Qing’s face, he swallowed back the words he had been intending to say. Yet his finger was already pointing at Xiong Xiao, he couldn’t honestly take it back, so he seized the opportunity to justify it, "I initially thought that this was done by Xiong Xiao. Later on, I discovered that I had been tricked; someone intentionally mislead me. It truth, it was actually done by Mount Returning Loyalty of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor!"
"UTTER RUB-" Xiong Xiao almost died from anger when he saw that Miao Yi had aimed an accusing finger at him. He was half-way through speaking the words ‘Utter rubbish!’ before realizing that Miao Yi wasn’t accusing him in the end. So he could only force the words back down, feeling completely insufferable.
Yet everyone, including Yang Qing, shifted their gaze to him on catching wind of the phrase ‘Utter rubbish!’—that he intended to say. Miao Yi never said that he was the one to blame, yet there he was trying to say ‘Utter rubbish!’. Could it be that Xiong Xiao wanted to admit that he was the perpetrator?
Miao Yi was also looking at Xiong Xiao with a dumbfounded expression on his face.
Xiong Xiao flushed deep red in anger, as he grit his teeth in hatred. ‘Why was he always on the short end of the stick when this brat was involved?’ Yet it was hopeless, he found it difficult to explain himself.
"Done by Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor?" Withdrawing his gaze from Xiong Xiao, Yang Qing regarded Miao Yi as he continued to ask, "Do you have proof?"
"Yes!" Miao Yi withdrew Su Biao’s severed head from his storage ring. "When Mount Returning Loyalty’s Mountain Chieftain Su Biao led his men to raid East Arrival Cave, he was killed by my men—here is his severed head. We captured one of his men alive, who can attest to it. The evidence is irrefutable! There is no room for him to deny it!"
Now it was the other army’s’ turn to draw in a breath of cold air. ‘Mount Returning Loyalty’s Mountain Chieftain Su Biao had a Blue Lotus Second Grade cultivation—he was killed by this brat?’
A look of astonishment flashed across Yang Qing’s eyes, as the suspicion he held in his heart was ultimately laid to rest.
From the beginning, he had already suspected that Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor was the one who raided East Arrival Cave. However, Miao Yi’s earlier report had insisted that it was carried out by Xiong Xiao. Now that there was damning evidence, together with Qin Weiwei’s earlier report that she had been in East Arrival Cave before the incident—she just left and East Arrival Cave was attacked!
Yang Qing’s expression went cold. He already knew the reason why Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor had done this. The assault on East Arrival Cave was merely a front—what they truly desired was to make a move on his daughter instead!
Since that was the case, that brat Miao Yi had saved his daughter. Not only did he do so, he also turned the entire situation around. It turned out to be the right choice to station that brat here at East Arrival Cave—he could wreck havoc and still perform his duties. He was hardly an incompetent man.
A trace of admiration quickly flashed through the cold glare that Yang Qing directed at Miao Yi. Following which, he glared at the opposite side, and bellowed, "LIU JINGTIAN! YOU DARE TO DECEIVE ME!?"
Liu Jingtian cupped his hands in the distance, and exclaimed, "Brother Yang, there must be some mistake! I was unaware of Su Biao’s actions. Don’t you fret. I will definitely investigate this incident thoroughly, and give a proper explanation to Brother Yang!"
Yang Qing completely ignored his response, and forcefully yelled out in a clearly murderous tone, "KILL!"
The ten Mountain Chieftains instantly signalled, and carried on the cry—‘KILL!’ in unison. The two thousand strong army rumbled forth like a relentless tide.
Miao Yi had been about to accompany them to kill, when he subconsciously shot a glance at Xiong Xiao. His eyes ultimately met with Xiong Xiao’s, and a tangible chill swiftly flashed within it. Miao Yi’s heart palpitated for a moment, as he considered whether that filthy scum was going to deliver a murderous blow to him in the middle of the chaotic battle.
‘It is entirely possible! A chaotic battle is the best place for him to strike, since it won’t be easily noticed by others!’
The word ‘KILL!’ erupting from his mouth, quickly transformed into a yell as he brandished his spear. "The Manor Head must not suffer any misfortune in East Arrival Cave! Follow me to protect the Manor Head!"
It was safest to stay by Yang Qing’s side.
Yuan Fang, Lai Yuhan and the rest had just been about to charge out, but quickly stopped in their tracks—they were left somewhat speechless. They almost disobeyed the Cave Master’s orders and charged out on their own. The Cave Master’s signal had been too misleading! No wonder even Xiong Xiao’s words ‘Utter rubbish!’ were half-spoken.
‘However, we are your subordinates, not Xiong Xiao! Was there a need to pull such a trick on us?’ It almost caused them to disobey a direct order before the others. ‘Wasn’t it embarrassing for the Cave Master as well? Seriously!’
They quickly turned about, and accompanied Miao Yi to stand guard by Yang Qing’s side.
This time, Yang Qing didn’t personally charge forward to lead his men. Back then, he didn’t have the strength to win the battle against a stronger enemy, so he took the lead to boost the morale of his men—only then would everyone risk their lives for him. He had taken the lead because his life depended on it.
Now that he had strong men, and sturdy steeds; battling a weaker enemy from a position of strength—it would be too much to ask the main general to risk his life to lead the assault. If the main general risked his life in the lead every single time, then what was the point in employing so many men?
He had been painstakingly labored for all these years—wasn’t it all for the sake of lessening his risks today, as well as in the future?
There were already six Blue Lotus First Grade experts standing guard beside him. Yang Qing didn’t need the shrimpy soldiers and a crabby general to protect him, but he kept his silence. Instead, he shot a thoughtful glance at the ‘faithful and devoted’ Miao Yi protecting him. Then his gaze once again shifted to witness the battle unfolding before them.
The rumblings of a fierce battle thundered from up ahead—the cries of dragon steeds erupted; both men and steeds were thrown off their feet.
The moment the forces on both sides crossed swords when they clashed with one another, Liu Jingtian felt that something was wrong. The enemy not only had greater numbers, they also had quite a number of Blue Lotus experts.
He was certain that he had no chance of winning this war, so he had to shrug off the embarrassment of running away. It wasn’t as though he didn’t put up a fight, rather—it was because he had no chance of fending off the attacks at all.
As Liu Jingtian hastily made his escape, he loudly yelled, "RETREAT!"
Those who didn’t manage to retreat in time were overrun by the charging forces. None of those in the midst of fleeing for their lives, cared about the death of their comrades, since they wouldn’t be able to save them no matter what they did. They only concerned themselves with their own lives.
The frontline of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor was instantly crushed. Yang Qing’s army seized the opportunity to chase for kills. Men and steeds were thrown off their feet, with arms and legs being hacked off along the way—blood spurting out in all directions.
There was a reason why everyone was fighting so desperately—it was all for the sake of plundering cultivation resources—because of that, they drew the battle out into a series of life and death clashes.
Under heavy guard, Yang Qing wrote on a jade archive atop his dragon steed. Then he ordered his subordinate to deliver it via spirit eagle to Hall Master Huo Lingxiao, of Suppressing Second Hall.
After the spirit eagle cut through the sky and left, he gave a signal with his hand—commanding the forces at his sides to pursue past the enemy frontline, and enter the boundary of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. This was already his second time charging into the realm of Suppressing Third Hall.
It was actually wrong for him to do this. Admittedly, Liu Jingtian was the one who had provoked him first, and he had definite proof of it. But by right, once Liu Jingtian withdrew—matters involving the two Halls should have been reported to Suppressing Second Hall first, for Huo Lingxiao to take charge of, instead of reporting it after the deed was committed.
However, Yang Qing wanted the opponent to pay the price first. He had just seized control of two manors, and an outsider already wanted to mess with him—he couldn’t show his weakness! Since Liu Jingtian had attacked him, he had to return the favor!
Liu Jingtian was considered to be extremely unlucky for crossing a person like him.
However, Yang Qing didn’t over do it. After his army killed about three hundred men, the situation had devolved to the point where they were simply chasing after the escapees. There was no meaning for him to continue giving chase; that might force the other Manors of Suppressing Third Hall to respond and lay siege on him. Thus, Yang Qing decisively ordered his forces to retrieve their spoils of war, and retreat.
Once they were back in the realm of South Edict Manor, a quick check in numbers revealed that about ten men had fallen in battle, or were injured.
After concealing some men at the boundary, the majority of their forces withdrew. They temporarily stationed themselves at East Arrival Cave to guard against the opponent's army at all time, while waiting for news from Suppressing Second Hall.
After dawn broke, more than two thousand men accompanied Yang Qing to stop over at the ruined East Arrival Cave. Yang Qing scanned his surroundings, and was rather shocked at the scene.
He originally intended to rest at East Arrival Cave, and never expected that it would be in such dire straits. He wasn’t used to staying in such a ragged place like this, after living in a posh place that was like paradise on Earth. As the sunlight fell onto the rows of wooden shacks at the edge of the mountain slopes, he asked, "You’ve all been staying there every since then?"
Having no choice but to accompany Yang Qing, since he was visiting Miao Yi’s territory; Miao Yi gave a dry laugh, "The living conditions here are quite poor. Manor Head, please excuse me."
Yang Qing casually asked, "Why haven’t you rebuilt the place yet?"
Miao Yi replied, "After East Arrival Cave was so badly ravaged, I didn’t wish to again have such a painful experience and employed more men to defend it, so my budget has been a bit tight…."
The expression he showed Yang Qing was full of expectations. Yang Qing had yet to reward him for saving his daughter before, and now that he had save his daughter once again—the stage was set—shouldn’t he at least reward him with something?