The ‘Brother Miao’ he was referring to, was obviously Miao Yi.
He completely didn’t regard the current East Arrival Cave Master as an equal, and instead focused on the former Cave Master; making the others feel somewhat awkward.
Even Yuan Fang and Lai Yuhan glowered a little at Gongsun Yu. Both of them were now also part of East Arrival Cave—Gongsun Yu’s words and actions appeared to be slighting East Arrival Cave. After all, while Yan Xiu was out, he represented East Arrival Cave.
However, Yan Xiu was self-aware. He knew that in the scenario where a butcher hangs a goat’s head but sells dog meat—he was the goat’s head. He wasn’t too offended and replied, "He is currently in closed-door cultivation."
Gongsun Yu replied with an ‘Oh’. When he noticed the cold gazes from the two Blue Lotus experts, his nerves were shaken. Without another word, he turned his dragon steed around, and led his men in a gallop to Mount Calming Sea.
Yan Xiu also gathered his men and followed suit.
As soon as they reached Mount Calming Sea, the two of them were brought by Little Auntie Lu Liu into the loft where Mountain Chieftain Qin Weiwei handled the daily affairs of Mount Calming Sea.
After the tributes were handed over, Qin Weiwei held onto East Arrival Cave’s jade archive report, appearing a little distracted, before asking, "Horse Deputy Miao Yi has not been giving you trouble, I hope?"
To the side, Gongsun Yu immediately cast a scrutinizing gaze over at Qin Weiwei, and observed the changes in her expression.
Yan Xiu laughed bitterly to himself. Even though he was officially the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave, but evidently, the one in East Arrival Cave that truly deserved everyone’s concern was still Miao Yi.
How could they not? Miao Yi twice led the defence of East Arrival Cave against assaults from formidable foes, and forcefully turned the tides. Miao Yi’s battle record was outstanding. Between the two Manors, and in Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor, his fame was widespread. When East Arrival Cave was mentioned, everyone seemed to ‘acknowledge’ the former Cave Master more. At least, this seemed obvious to Yan Xiu for the short time that he had been representing East Arrival Cave, and brushing with the outside world.
Faced with the Mountain Chieftain’s question, Yan Xiu replied, "Horse Deputy Miao is very dutiful to his task, and is very cooperative with me."
Qin Weiwei nodded, and asked, "Did he come with you this time?"
Yan Xiu replied, "No, he did not."
Gongsun Yu was quietly observing, and noticed a hint of something within Qin Weiwei’s gaze—disappointment; as if…. she was a little disappointed that Miao Yi hadn’t come. ‘What was she disappointed about? Don’t tell me she wanted to see Miao Yi?’ he thought.
Gongsun Yu felt something pull on the back of his mind; he appeared to have noticed something from his fixation.
Qin Weiwei raised her head to look at Yan Xiu, and asked, "What has he been doing for the past year?"
Yan Xiu replied, "Besides doing his own duties, he practically never left his quarters and was always in closed-door cultivation."
As soon as she heard this, Qin Weiwei was a little hesitant to speak. For the always-mischievous Miao Yi to actually be so obedient—she couldn’t help but suspect that he was still brooding; displeased over being demoted to Horse Deputy, and expressing his resistance with silence. However, in the end, she didn’t say anything strange by asking about it.
To Gongsun Yu, she looked a little too concerned. ‘Does a Mountain Chieftain like yourself need to be so concerned with the Horse Deputy of a single abode?’
Hong Mian, and Lu Liu also quietly shared a glance…
After completing his duty of handing over the tribute for this year, Yan Xiu hadn’t yet earned the right to accompany the Mountain Chieftain to deliver it to South Edict Manor. However, he did manage to bring back a piece of unfavourable news for Miao Yi.
It seemed Xiong Xiao was also spending most of his time cultivating—his cultivation had undergone another breakthrough, and reached Blue Lotus First Grade!
"I see! Don’t forget to sent a list of remunerations over to Mount Returning Loyalty every year."
Regarding Xiong Xiao’s cultivation breaking through to another level, Miao Yi was not surprised at all. It seemed that being in a state of focused cultivation for nearly a year had allowed Miao Yi’s temperament to mellow.
Miao Yi only came out to say a few words and meet with everyone. After he handed over the expected wages, he returned back to his closed-door cultivation.
He made it impossible for Yuan Fang and the others to try digging up any dirt, because they barely had any chance to even see Miao Yi’s face.
Miao Yi had truly immersed himself in a state of closed-door cultivation. He now had sufficient Orbs of Will, a temporary safe haven to cultivate, and a bunch of subordinates to protect him. He also had a hundred thousand followers supplementing him with cultivation resources, as well as the care of his handmaidens—so it was a given that he was well provided for. He also did not need to waste his time dealing with affairs that demanded the Cave Master presence. Yan Xiu was there to handle these. In a manner of speaking, he had nothing to worry about, and could focus single-heartedly on his cultivation!
Such a state of cultivation was coveted by many Loose Cultivators, and disciples of the various sects. Even Miao Yi himself could feel it as he mellowed.
Not only did Loose Cultivators lack a hundred thousand followers to supplement the every aspect of their livelihood, the safety of their environment was always a constant worry, and they had to fight for limited cultivation resources. Normally, loose cultivators did not dare to steal from the people under the jurisdiction of the Six Sages either, so the poor and miserly could only fight amongst themselves. It was a negative cycle of poverty and brutality, creating a difficult environment to survive in, let alone having the necessary amount of Orbs of Will. That was of course, unless they had a patron to support them.
This was also the reason why many Loose Cultivators dreamed of entering the system. In normal situations, there was at least no need to worry about ensuring their safety. They would even be able to earn a fixed amount of cultivation resources.
Even if the disciples of the various schools had slightly better livelihoods than Loose Cultivators, the schools themselves required a source for their cultivation resources to support those disciples of theirs. Not only did those disciples need to handle menial chores, they had to go around and handle various tasks for their masters. Fighting and killing, mining; or even things like gathering herbs were commonly done. Otherwise, no school would have their cultivation resources simply fall into your lap to support you.
Miao Yi lay unmoving like a stone statue in his silent quarters, while time outside just flew him by.
Another year passed and the time for tributes had come again. It was still Yan Xiu leading the troops over. Miao Yi was again nowhere to be seen; it was as though he was slowly fading away from the eyes of the people within both Manors.
For him to suddenly become so inconspicuous to the point that there was barely any news of him at all—prompted Mount Calming Sea to send Hong Mian over from their side to investigate.
When all the people of East Arrival Cave were called to assemble, Miao Yi arrived for a brief moment. He hid the furthest behind everyone else, alone and quiet—as though he was truly a lowly Horse Deputy. Hong Mian ground her teeth slightly at the sight of this.
As soon as Hong Mian left, Miao Yi continued his closed-door cultivation.
After Hong Mian returned to Mount Calming Sea, she was immediately met with Qin Weiwei’s interrogation. "How is East Arrival Cave’s situation?" Qin Weiwei asked.
"Reporting to the Mountain Chieftain. Everything is normal."
"Miao Yi did not cause any trouble for Yan Xiu, I hope?" Qin Weiwei always beat about the bush, and used this as an excuse to dig up some information on a certain someone’s situation.
Hong Mian more or less understood her intentions, and knew what she was concerned about, so she replied, "No, he didn’t. All I saw, was that all of East Arrival Cave’s affairs were handled by Yan Xiu. Miao Yi was being very low-key, to the point that he was unwilling to meet me. It seemed he didn’t have even the slightest intention of speaking with me."
Qin Weiwei fell silent. After a moment, she solemnly asked, "Did it seem to you that he was unresigned about being demoted to a Horse Deputy?"
Hong Mian shook her head and replied, "It didn’t seem that way. From his words and actions, his entire being seemed very tranquil."
Qin Weiwei creased her brows and asked, "Then could it be that, against our expectations, Yan Xiu has completely taken over East Arrival Cave? Could Yan Xiu be suppressing him?"
Hong Mian did not know whether to laugh or cry as she thought, ‘If you really want to go have a look, then go make the trip and see for yourself. Even though you are the Mountain Chieftain, there is no need for a woman to be this rigid, right? If you want to let the other person understand something, then you should just directly express it to him. If you don’t say it out loud, how would you know how the other person feels? If you are always this rigid, how would the other party know how you feel?’
Lu Liu felt a little helpless. Even though she already had some idea of Qin Weiwei’s feelings, she thought that it would be unwise to directly ask her about it. She was scared that this seemingly strong, and dauntless Mountain Chieftain would be intimidated back into her shell.
"I didn’t see any signs of him enduring any suppression. Even though he was very discreet, I could see the way the rest of them treated him—it was still very respectful. Even while he was being discreet about it, his position within East Arrival Cave is still very high. The resident manor that belongs to the Cave Master is still occupied by him. Yan Xiu had nothing to do with it." Hong Mian replied.
Qin Weiwei’s teeth gently pressed down on her red lips, she was speechless….
It was not only her. Even Manor Head Yang Qing was a little surprised.
Even though Yang Qing treated Miao Yi favourably, but for himself, he had to deal with two Manors. He couldn’t always focus merely on Miao Yi. There were still many people and affairs within the two Manors that were much more important to Yang Qing than him.
However, after not hearing any news of Miao Yi for some time, a day naturally came when he recalled Miao Yi’s existence. He inquired a little from Qin Weiwei, but she would not reveal that anything was amiss, and would only say that Miao Yi had been very obedient; that there was nothing out of the ordinary.
Yang Qing immediately felt that it was strange, so Qing Ju had to inadvertently take a quick look at East Arrival Cave.
It was almost the same as when Hong Mian came to East Arrival Cave. Miao Yi still hid at the back of the crowd at all times. It was absurd how discreet he was being; he didn’t have any intention of meeting Qing Ju.
Qing Ju clearly had a more blithe personality than Qing Mei. Using the fact that they knew each other to her advantage, she took the initiative to stop him and have a conversation, asking, "How does it feel to become a Horse Deputy?"
Miao Yi courteously replied, "Not bad."
"Not bad?" Qing Ju rolled her eyes, then smiled as she said, "Do you want me to say a few good words in front of the Manor Head, and help reinstate your position?"
Miao Yi shook his head, and replied, "I am grateful for Little Auntie’s kind offer, but I am quite satisfied with where I am now."
Regardless of how Qing Ju asked, Miao Yi always maintained a courteous manner while replying, and seemed little perturbed by anything; not allowing Qing Ju to discern any of his feelings.
As soon as Qing Ju returned to South Edict Manor, her report to Yang Qing was pretty much the same as Hong Mian’s.
Yang Qing immediately found it strange, and said, "Did this brat really turn over a new leaf, or did he become obedient after being punished by me..…"
It was not important what the people outside thought. For Miao Yi himself, he had to make the most of his time, and raise his own strength.
‘I don’t give a rat’s ass about reinstating my position. I’m no longer interested in the Cave Master’s seat. If I had to choose, I would choose to be a Mountain Chieftain.’
There would be a day when he would exhaust the resources in his hands. He could not simply go to the Sea of Constellations, and rob again. After going there once, he understood that he may not be lucky enough to come back with his life every time he went to the Sea of Constellations. It would be best to first obtain a stable position with a high income. For example, the Mountain Chieftain’s position.
He knew that his major disadvantage was that his cultivation wasn’t high enough. Right now, he had to take advantage of his surrounding environment to quickly raise his own cultivation. Only when he himself had unfaltering strength, would he truly have capital. Continue to pay out of his own pocket for a group of men to protect him wasn’t viable in the long run—he couldn’t afford it.
However, he knew he had an advantage. So long as he had enough Orbs of Will, his cultivation speed would be much faster than the average person. He still had a chance of eliminating Xiong Xiao.
Furthermore, after gaining some experience, he had slowly matured. He now had a long-term plan in mind. The next time he made a move against Xiong Xiao, he would not simply kill him off—there was no need to do something that benefited others. If he killed Xiong Xiao now, he would be doing exactly that. Then next time he wanted to be promoted, he would have to clash with someone again. Why go through all that trouble?
Therefore, if he were to actually make a move—he would take Xiong Xiao’s life and his position for himself.