Yet, some things couldn’t be stated so clearly in front of everyone. Yan Xiu could do nothing but grab Miao Yi’s arm and secretly send a voice transmission.
"Cave Master, my Cave Master status is just for the sake of keeping up appearances. Just now, the Mountain Chieftain has already reminded me to heed your opinions more often."
When he heard this, Miao Yi no longer had a heckling expression as he turned around and narrowed his eyes at him.
He had been jeering only because he wanted to see if Yan Xiu could read the mood or not; it was not uncommon for someone to lose sight of their goodwill in the presence of personal gain.
If Yan Xiu was someone who could become full of himself despite obtaining so many benefits from him, then Miao Yi himself could not be blamed for putting their relationship aside. He thought to himself, ‘Should that happen, I might not dare to retaliate openly against you, the Mountain Chieftain’s appointed Cave Master, but I will have plenty of chances to make my move covertly. Why don’t you take a look and see who actually holds East Arrival Cave in his grasp? Would you dare challenge me alone?’
Seeing as Yan Xiu understood it all, Miao Yi stopped making things difficult for him. He waved his hands towards everyone and said, "Meeting, now!"
Following the lead of the East Arrival Cave’s Horse Deputy, everyone re-entered the shack.
As he stood next to the Cave Master’s esteemed seat, Miao Yi made no move to sit upon it and instead turned around and asked, "Cave Master, should I speak while standing or sitting?"
Yan Xiu smiled bitterly and said, "Please sit down. This was originally your seat, to begin with."
With everyone’s gaze upon him, Miao Yi did not hold back and sat down. He saw Qian’Er and Xue’Er’s heads peering just outside the door, so he called out, "Come inside, you two girls."
Qian’Er and Xue’Er both knew that the only handmaidens who had the qualifications to enter the assembly hall were the Elder Auntie and Little Auntie of East Arrival Cave. Now that their master was stripped of his Cave Master position, both of them did not dare to enter.
But after hearing their master’s words, the two ladies were a little excited as they walked inside once more. Once again, they stood beside Miao Yi, sharing his honor.
With Yan Xiu in front, everyone cupped their fists once again and said, "We greet the Cave Master!"
This group of people was completely lawless. They were simply ignoring Yang Qing’s decree and had appointed a Cave Master themselves!
If Yang Qing were to find out, he would probably explode with rage. This was an open challenge to the Manor Head’s authority!
Miao Yi was no fool as well. He waved his hand and pointed towards Yan Xiu as he said, "Don’t call me that carelessly. Yan Xiu is the Cave Master that was appointed by the Mountain Chieftain. From now on, just call me Horse Deputy. Calling me Cave Master is highly inappropriate. If the upper-heads catch wind of it, I’ll be in serious trouble. The only reason I am sitting here is because Cave Master Yan lacks experience and has ordered me to act on his behalf. Since the Cave Master has ordered me to do so, how could I, the Horse Deputy, disobey his orders!? Once Cave Master Yan becomes familiar with the situation, we’ll still have to do things in accordance with the rules."
When they heard these words, everyone chuckled as they thought, ‘With you being the representative, Cave Master Yan is unlikely to ever get the chance to familiarize himself with the situation.’
However, the hearts of the East Arrival Cave members quickly settled down.
Yan Xiu, however, could only smile bitterly as he thought, ‘Is this what it’s like to be a whore but at the same time build a monument to validate one’s chastity?’
"The Cave Master has already assigned a separate task to me, but I find it difficult dividing my time doing two duties. I may not understand the grand scheme of things, but I can still comprehend some minor reasonings. I understand that my own matters are of little importance and the Cave Master’s matters are paramount. I also can’t forsake my duty because of personal circumstances. Thus, I’m afraid that I will have to put the matter of caring for everyone’s horses on hold. How about we continue as we were for the time being?" Miao Yi asked.
Who could still expect the former Cave Master to care for their horses? Everyone naturally cupped their fists and replied, "Understood!"
"With the threat of the Manor Head hanging over them, then even with Xiong Xiao’s mighty forces, he wouldn’t dare lay a hand on East Arrival Cave for the time being. Therefore, the matter of rebuilding East Arrival Cave has to be sped up," Miao Yi said. He looked towards Yan Xiu and added, "Yan…Cave Master, you will continue to be in charge of this."
"Understood!" said Yan Xiu, cupping his fists.
"Even if Xiong Xiao won’t dare to act carelessly, we cannot be too careful against scoundrels. Compared to the other abodes of Immortals, we still have a sufficient number of troops at East Arrival Cave. The matter of our defenses shall go on as it were. Do not delay. Otherwise, everyone will pay the price with their lives. Our enemies outside are watching us closely, so all of you must be united!"
"Understood!" Everyone cupped their fists again and acknowledged the order.
The hierarchy of the positions in East Arrival Cave had already gone completely awry; a dignified Cave Master was actually at a Horse Deputy’s beck and call.
Yet, none of them found it strange. They all felt that this was how it should be. Otherwise, East Arrival Cave might really be thrown into disarray, and no one would be able to cultivate in peace.
"Use your status as Cave Master to send a jade archive requesting for compensation to Mount Returning Loyalty on the other side. They ambushed my East Arrival Cave, so they should compensate for the damages my East Arrival Cave has suffered. They must shoulder all the casualties and deaths in battle as well as the cost of rebuilding East Arrival Cave. Send someone to deliver the message to them later on."
"Ah! This…" Yan Xiu panicked as he thought to himself, ‘You must be joking. I’m already putting on the act of a Cave Master because I could not object to it and have even returned the actual authority back to you. You still want to use my name to stir up trouble? Aren’t you just trying to set me up like this?’
Everyone cast pitiful looks towards Yan Xiu. Apparently, the former Cave Master was still brooding over this incident.
"What are you thinking about now?" said Horse Deputy Miao Yi as he stood up from the treasured seat of the Cave Master. With his hands behind his back, he furrowed his brows and added, "For my East Arrival Cave to be met with tragedy twice is mostly because of East Arrival Cave’s impractical geographical location. Every time someone has a problem they usually start off with my East Arrival Cave. If I just took this lying down, how much more will I endure? Dare I ask all of you, what should we do when someone just randomly attacks us again in the future? Have we not been wronged? We must let these outsiders know that our East Arrival Cave won’t be so easily pushed around. Only then can we avoid calamity. Ever Peace Manor has already fallen under the command of the Manor Head, so it is unwise to choose to settle the score with them. Therefore, we can only retaliate against Mount Returning Loyalty."
He had always wanted to create a safe domain. Without a safe haven, he didn’t have the courage to look for his little brother and little sister, considering what a dog-eat-dog world the cultivation realm could be. Even if he did find them, he lacked the confidence to receive them.
For the sake of one day fulfilling his responsibility as the eldest sibling, he had always worked hard. To this end, he did not mind being ruthless.
He also wanted to have a peaceful and stable life. No one liked doing anything that could endanger their lives.
Nobody understood the reason behind his melancholy state when he silently watched the starry skies on his own.
"May I know what the Cave…." Yuan Fang felt his words were a little awkward-sounding as he cupped his fists, so he rephrased himself, "May I know what the Horse Deputy intends to do?"
"I just said it. Have them compensate us."
"What do we do if they decide not to offer remunerations? Don’t tell me we are really going to take action? The consequences of inciting conflict between two Halls is not something we can shoulder."
"I don’t expect them to compensate us at all. It is not a convenient time to take action now either. I am just looking for an excuse. Once the right opportunity comes along, we will use this as a pretense to make our move. If we can use this to provoke them into striking first, that would be even better. When that happens, we won’t have to worry about shouldering any consequences," mocked Miao Yi coldly. He waved his hand, pointing towards Yan Xiu and added, "Just do as I said and send the list of remunerations over to them. If they ignore it, then we will send one every year. We must not let this matter be gradually forgotten. Keep sending it until we have the chance to take our revenge. When that happens, we won’t even need to look for an excuse!"
Yan Xiu said worryingly, "The Hall Master has just ordered this matter to be hereby resolved. Won’t it be inappropriate for us to do something like this?"
Miao Yi shrugged and replied, "The Hall Master is someone that sits high above. How would he know the struggles of those of us down below? Three people from my East Arrival Cave have died in battle, and I don’t see the Hall Master providing any compensation for it. Furthermore, we are not stirring up trouble. We are just courteously sending out a list of remunerations over to them. If they do not compensate us, we are in no hurry to be rash as well. Of course, if the other party is displeased and finds the list annoying to even look at, and therefore chooses to pick a fight, then we are no longer to blame for what we do in return."
Seeing as he had it all planned out, Yan Xiu felt a little relieved and cupped his fists to acknowledge the order.
Afterwards, everyone discussed the amount that Mount Returning Loyalty should compensate.
In the end, Horse Deputy Miao Yi once again made the decision for them. Three of East Arrival Cave’s troops had died in battle so they would ask for a compensation of three hundred orbs.
Adding to that the other wounded members of East Arrival Cave, the total amount they were going to request was four hundred low-grade Orbs of Will. They even held Mount Returning Loyalty accountable for the destruction of East Arrival Cave and requested an additional compensation of three hundred thousand gold crystals.
The list of remunerations was personally delivered by a White Lotus Fifth Grade cultivator under Lai Yuhan’s escort. As to why Lai Yuhan had to personally make the trip, it was because they were afraid that Mount Returning Loyalty would kill the messenger in a fit of anger. With Lai Yuhan’s cultivation, they had some insurance at least.
Mount Returning Loyalty’s forces weren’t fully replenished yet. The new Mountain Chieftain was called Wen Qishan.
When his subordinate reported that someone from East Arrival Cave was requesting an audience, Wen Qishan felt that it was a little strange. Once he read what Lai Yuhan sent over, his face darkened.
‘Compensation? The Hall Masters of both Halls have already come to terms regarding the matter. What is there to compensate? What qualifications does your little abode of Immortals have to ask for compensation?’
If not for East Arrival Cave’s fame, then with the difference in status between both parties, he wouldn’t have bothered to even meet with them.
However, Wen Qishan did not burst out in a fit of rage, because he was a little confused with regards to East Arrival Cave’s intentions.
He also knew that Liu Jingtian had already upset the Hall Master. The Manor Head himself was in a precarious position, so right now Wen Qishan did not want to cause any trouble. In the end, he decided to let the person who started it all—Liu Jingtian—handle this strange matter and then distanced himself from further trouble.
Lai Yuhan was asked to return; he did not obtain a response.
Very soon, the list of remunerations was brought over to Liu Jingtian.
Once Liu Jingtian, who had constantly been sighing as of late, saw the list, he was taken aback with rage. Everyone dared to bully him. They really thought he could be easily pushed around...
However, he knew his own situation. Even though East Arrival Cave was small, this incident involved two Halls. Liu Jingtian himself no longer dared to involve himself between the two Halls.
In the end, he decided to bear with it. The list of remunerations was once again personally passed over, this time to Suppressing Third Hall’s Hall Master, Wu Menglan. He cautiously asked for her advice regarding the list.
"This East Arrival Cave again. Oh… Cave Master Yan Xiu? Was the Cave Master not Miao Yi? Who is this Yan Xiu? To actually be so bold!"
Wu Menglan was surprised after looking through the jade archive. How could she be bothered to remember a mere Cave Master? She only remembered Miao Yi, but now even Yan Xiu had made his way into the mind of Hall Master Wu.
"According to my sources, Miao Yi made a false report and upset Yang Qing. Yang Qing has stripped him of his Cave Master position and demoted him to Horse Deputy. Yan Xiu was previously Miao Yi’s subordinate. It is likely that he was unable to repress Miao Yi, and that East Arrival Cave is quite possibly still under the command of Miao Yi," Liu Jingtian cautiously said at her side.
He, too, had never regarded the insignificant East Arrival Cave with any importance in the past. It was precisely because of this that he’d suffered a loss and henceforth was now paying more attention to it. And it wasn’t easy for a Manor Head to keep a close watch on a Cave Master.
"Demoted to Horse Deputy? Hehe, that is a pity. I found it strange as well and wondered how they could all be so bold. But now it seems that brat is still causing trouble. A compensation of four hundred low-grade Orbs of Will and three hundred thousand gold crystals. He actually dares to ask for this!" Wu Menglan sneered. Pa! She crushed the jade archive in her hands and added, "Don’t bother with him. I would very much like to see what this puny East Arrival Cave dares to do. I could not hope for anything more than someone impudent from that side to stir up some trouble. If they won’t cause a fuss, how can I ask Huo Lingxiao for remunerations? Keep a close eye on him!"
"Yes yes, understood!" Liu Jingtian nodded repeatedly.