Qin Weiwei ground her teeth, silently cursing in her heart. She couldn't understand how Miao Yi could be shameless enough to deceive both the Mountain Chieftain and the Manor Head into fighting with each other. Such audacity…
Yang Qing wasn’t a fool either. He leveled a glare at the Great Master Miao Yi when he deduced what he was really hinting at from his words and behaviour.
His gaze fell to the six storage rings on Miao Yi’s hands. ‘How dare he claim himself to be a poor man?’ Yang Qing turned his face away from Miao Yi, pretending that he hadn’t understood a single word coming from Miao Yi’s mouth.
Miao Yi was at a loss for words, and began muttering silently in his heart that it probably wasn’t an opportune moment to directly request it of Yang Qing just then.
The conditions were crude and simple, only allowing the two thousand men to spread out to the sides, and look for places to rest.
Somewhere inside an unknown cave, Yao Ruoxian rolled his eyes. He didn’t wish to bump into anyone, so he decided to dodge all sorts of encounters and slip into the deeper parts of the forest…
The best location to rest now was at Miao Yi’s shack; Yang Qing and the others would have to make do with it for the moment.
After entering the shack, Yang Qing realized that the interior wasn’t as crude as it appeared on the outside. Even though it was small, the furnishing was complete. If it could accommodate the men of East Arrival Cave for official matters, then it could certainly accommodate Yang Qing and the other Mountain Chieftains.
Yang Qing immediately seated himself on Cave Master Miao Yi’s place as soon as he entered the shack. The other Mountain Chieftains took their respective seats on either sides.
The Manor Head didn’t seem like he wanted to give him a reward, but Miao Yi didn’t want to neglect him since Yang Qing had personally come to his territory. He turned back to face Yuan Fang, and said, "Prepare a feast for one table."
There was no need to take care of the others; he couldn’t possibly take care of the appetite of two thousand men. It was enough for him to only take care of the Manor Head and the other Mountain Chieftains.
Yuan Fang was just about to acknowledge Miao Yi’s order, when Yang Qing abruptly said indifferently, "Nevermind. Let’s start with the matter of Changfeng Cave first. Xiong Xiao!"
"Here!" Xiong Xiao cupped his fists as he stepped forward.
Yang Qing began his interrogations, "Who attacked Changfeng Cave?"
Miao Yi stood to the side; appearing dutiful, and pretending that nothing had happened; but he knew what was coming without needing to make a wild guess.
As expected, Xiong Xiao targeted Miao Yi with a firm finger and said, "It was East Arrival Cave Master Miao Yi!"
Yang Qing glanced at Miao Yi, and said, "I will give you a chance to dispute his claim."
Miao Yi stepped forward and cupped his hands, then blathered as he tried to shift the blame. "Manor Head, Xiong Xiao has been plotting my death from the start. His words cannot be trusted! Before you came with your army, Xiong Xiao was leading his men to kill me. He may even be in league with Liu Jingtian. Both parties were thinking of joining forces to attack me."
He truly thought too highly of himself. ‘Would Xiong Xiao and Liu Jingtian have needed to join forces to attack him and his meagre squad of men?’
"Bullshit!" Xiong Xiao growled furiously.
Yang Qing calmly commanded, "Stick to the point."
Failing to frame Xiong Xiao, he continued, "I have nothing to do with matter at Changfeng Cave. If it wasn’t for Mountain Chieftain’s questioning, I would not have known that something shocking happened in Changfeng Cave."
He turned to face Xiong Xiao, he said "Even if you want to frame me, you have to show evidence to support your claim. May I be so bold as to ask, does Mountain Chieftain have any such evidence on hand?"
His tone was calmer, as if he were presenting reasonable fact; unlike before when he had first seen Xiong Xiao—cursing him at the top of his lungs, delivering threats and wishing to fight him to the death. Those who have taken advantage of others would not be anxious; they would always feign innocence.
Yang Qing cut in as well, "Xiong Xiao. If you have evidence, show it. I will settle this case fairly!"
Xiong Xiao replied, "The men that assaulted Changfeng Cave only took away three people—Yuan Zhengkun, Li Xin, and Sun Jiaojiao. It could only be someone who bears a grudge against these three people, or wants them dead. The answer is as clear as day!"
Yang Qing turned to Miao Yi and asked, "Do you have anything else to say?"
Naturally, Miao Yi would never admit that it was him. He gave a hard glare to Xiong Xiao as he scoffed, "Mountain Chieftain Xiong is abusing his power to bully others. Do you think that counts as evidence? If that is the case, then both Fan Renfang and Fang Ziyu, who attempted to take my life, were also once Mountain Chieftain Xiong’s subordinates. Should I take this as evidence too?"
The crowd listening to the conversation watched them both indifferently. They had nothing to do with this dogfight, so they couldn’t care less to know who was the murderer, or the victim. However, for a Cave Master to be able to calmly assert his argument against a Mountain Chieftain before the Manor Head; he must be privileged with being indulged by the Manor Head himself.
If it was some other Cave Master, they wouldn’t have the privilege of speaking so daringly before the Manor Head.
Yang Qing then swept his gaze to Xiong Xiao, waiting for him to present his own evidence.
Xiong Xiao was out of arguments; knowing that the direction of the debate wasn’t going well, he quickly switched topics and countered Miao Yi’s argument by saying, "Then do you dare deny that you were the one who invaded Mount Shaotai, and killed two of my personal handmaidens?"
The listening crowd was shocked by Xiong Xiao’s words. They had heard some of what had gone on at Changfeng Cave, but not about the assault on Mount Shaotai. Every single person turned their head to look at Miao Yi with shock. ‘Did this man really invade Mount Shaotai? Even murdering two of Xiong Xiao’s personal handmaidens? How powerful was this man? What was Xiong Xiao even doing?’
Qin Weiwei was also shocked as she looked at Miao Yi in astonishment. ‘Did he really assault Mount Shaotai?’
Miao Yi showed a stunned expression, then furrowed his brows and said, "Mountain Chieftain Xiong, you have gone too far. Are you saying that I was the one who assaulted Mount Shaotai? What kind of joke is this? I don’t understand what you are saying."
He then turned towards Yang Qing with his fists cupped and continued, "Manor Head, Mountain Chieftain Xiong is trying to frame me. Look at his troops, how could someone like me assault Mount Shaotai? What a flimsy motive! Manor Head, please punish him!"
Xiong Xiao became furious, and pointed accusingly at Miao Yi, "You little scum. I saw you with my own eyes. Don’t you dare dispute my claims!"
"Dog scum!" Miao Yi was also enraged as he snarled back, and jabbed his finger at Xiong Xiao, "The two Manors already know that you want me dead. I didn’t think that you would take it this far—daring to accuse me over, and over again. Don’t think that everyone will be bullied so easily! You want to kill me, is that it? Fine! I will give you a chance. Come outside and fight me to the death, if you dare!"
Miao Yi would never win if he had to face an entire army, but he could depend on his first-grade transcendence artifacts in a one-on-one battle; he would certainly have a higher chance of emerging the victor then.
"I feared that you would never ask!" Xiong Xiao behaved as if he wanted to battle Miao Yi right then.
Xiong Xiao was actually not confident; but how could he admit defeat in front of a crowd. However, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to start a fight with Miao Yi whilst Yang Qing was around.
As expected, Yang Qing spoke up, "Does my existence mean nothing to the both of you?"
Miao Yi and Xiong Xiao quickly stood straight, and withdrew from their antics. Both of them did not dare to carelessly make a single move.
Yang Qing then began interrogating Xiong Xiao once more, "So you saw him assault Mount Shaotai with your own eyes?"
"That’s correct!" Xiong Xiao replied angrily, and continued, "Even though he was wore a mask—that battle armor he wore, the spear he wielded, and the mount he was on as he led his men—there is no mistaking it!"
"Allegations! These are purely allegations!" Miao Yi quickly stood before Yang Qing and explained, "After East Arrival Cave was raided, I have not once left this place at all. I’m sure Manor Head will be able to judge for himself!"
After invading Mount Shaotai, he had personally combed the area so that there wouldn’t be any evidence left behind. He knew that he couldn’t hide this matter from Yang Qing, but he would never admit to that.
"I saw you with my own eyes. How dare you try to absolve yourself of your actions!" Xiong Xiao glared at Miao Yi, as he fumed.
Miao Yi retorted, "You said that person was wearing a mask. How could you even tell that the person was me? You didn’t even inspect that person thoroughly!"
"Can anyone imitate your battle armor, and dragon steed?"
"If someone wishes to frame me, I don’t see how that’s impossible to do."
"Who do you think you are? Who would want to frame you?"
"You, Xiong Xiao; you would. You have been trying to take my life more than once but you got off because of your lies. Justice prevails in one’s heart. Everyone clearly knows whether it was you, or someone else!"
"SILENCE!" Yang Qing slammed his armrest, shutting up both Miao Yi and Xiong Xiao with his cold gaze. He then focused his attention on Xiong Xiao, and said, "Show me your evidence, and I will give you justice!"
Xiong Xiao cupped his fists, and said, "There are many from Mount Shaotai who were at the scene. There are about ten from my division who can stand witnesses to my claims!"
"Manor Head!" Miao Yi quickly cupped his fists, and interjected, "Xiong Xiao’s subordinates will definitely conspire with him without a shred of resistance. His subordinates cannot be taken as witnesses. If that is the case, my men from the East Arrival Cave can prove that I haven’t left the cave recently!"
Xiong Xiao said, "Manor Head! If I interrogate his men, the truth will be revealed!"
‘What a joke!’ This was Miao Yi’s greatest fear—having his subordinates taken for interrogation. If they were severely tortured to wring out the truth, no one would be able to guarantee that every one of them could keep their lips sealed. Should that happen, he would have to bear all the consequences by himself.
The reason why Miao Yi could continued this charade—was that he did not believe that Yang Qing would force him into a hopeless situation after saving his daughter’s life. However, if that was truly the case, the subordinates from the two Manors were bound to be disappointed by Yang Qing. Yang Qing could not afford to upset his men just for the sake of the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave. Yang Qing should know it better than anyone else.
Miao Yi quickly retorted and said, "Manor Head! Xiong Xiao plans to force my men into confessing false charges under severe torture! If I interrogate his men instead, I can also make them confess to false charges, and prove that they were forced by Xiong Xiao to frame me!"
This was the moment for him to stand up for his own subordinates. Otherwise, no one would want to work for him anymore!
Those two had been at each other’s throats for a while. The other Mountain Chieftains felt stressed on behalf of the Manor Head. One was a trusted subordinate who had served as a Mountain Chieftain for a long time, and the other was the savior of his daughter’s life. Being biased in this endless dispute would do more harm than good, as it could easily leave everyone in the scene disappointed.
However, in terms of sentiment, most Mountain Chieftains would stand with Xiong Xiao. It was quite outrageous for a mere Cave Master to behave with such arrogance against a Mountain Chieftain.
"Are you two finished?"
Yang Qing rumbled coldly; both parties stopped accusing one another immediately.
"Xiong Xiao. Since you weren’t able to show any substantial evidence, this matter will be temporarily put on hold!" Yang Qing made a final decision on the spot.
Xiong Xiao widened his eyes, and choked out, "Manor Head…"
He was forced to swallow back his words, when Yang Qing shot a ferocious glare at him. Xiong Xiao put on a straight face, and cupped his fists, before slowly retreating to his original position.
Miao Yi breathed a sigh of relief. It was worth saving the life of Yang Qing’s daughter after all.
Yuan Fang and the others outside the shack breathed a sigh of relief as well. Even though they knew the Cave Master was a ridiculous man, he was still a responsible man. He was able to stand up for everyone in the end.
Just then, Yang Qing changed the topic. He gazed at Miao Yi indifferently, and asked, "Have you prepared an explanation on the false report of Xiong Xiao attacking East Arrival Cave?"
The crowd looked at each other, realizing that matters between Xiong Xiao and Miao Yi weren’t finished. Both sides were claiming that the other had assaulted their territory.
Miao Yi cupped his fists and replied, "Before the incident occurred, I made a report to Manor Head first. It wasn’t a false report because I was deceived into thinking that it was Xiong Xiao’s doing!"
Yang Qing continued to ask indifferently, "Do you have evidence for that?"
Miao Yi replied, "I have."
Yang Qing looked at him with impassive eyes and said, "Bring it to me!"
Miao Yi had already prepared his evidence beforehand, and turned his head back to shout to someone outside, "Yuan Fang. Bring him in!"
Not long after, Yuan Fang brought in a trembling cultivator with him. He was the one captured from Mount Returning Loyalty during the attack on East Arrival Cave.