Miao Yi had also been keeping tabs on Xiong Xiao’s movements, utilizing the School of Blue Jade. Currently, the relationship between the School of Blue Jade and South Edict Manor was no longer as strained as it was before, so it wasn’t that troublesome to get in touch with Yuan Fang and the others.
What he found strange was that the situation on Xiong Xiao’s end was almost similar to his—Xiong Xiao was using most of his time in closed-door cultivation. It seemed like he was also in a rush to raise his own cultivation, and wasn’t hard-pressed on seeking Miao Yi out for revenge. Compared to taking revenge on Miao Yi, it seemed he prioritized raising his cultivation more.
Deep in the mountains, in a waterside pavilion in the abode of Immortals. Summer was coming to an end.
Within the silent quarters, Miao Yi was sitting cross-legged like a statue when suddenly, the faint silhouette of a four-petaled white lotus shone from his forehead. He slowly opened his eyes; his gaze revealing a mystifying glow.
Originally, he would have needed little more than three years for his cultivation to break through to White Lotus Fourth Grade; but because of interference from several other matters, he spent nearly four years before finally breaking through.
Miao Yi was neither surprised nor delighted, it wasn’t anything to be joyous about either.
The fact of the matter was, all his subordinates in East Arrival Cave have higher cultivations than him—even Yan Xiu had already broken through to White Lotus Fourth Grade last year.
After he quietly conducted an internal examination, he couldn’t help but smile bitterly.
As expected, it doubled again. Based on his past experience, he estimated that it would require around forty low-grade Orbs of Will, if he wanted to break through to White Lotus Fifth Grade.
Forty orbs wasn’t such a large sum to him right now, but it was quite frightening that it would continue to double this way.
Roughly calculating, if he wanted his cultivation to break through to the Blue Lotus Realm, just breaking through from White Lotus Ninth Grade to Blue Lotus First Grade alone would require over a thousand low-grade Orbs of Will; and the amount necessary to break through from Blue Lotus Third Grade to Blue Lotus Fourth Grade would be over ten thousand already.
When he reached the later Blue Lotus stages, the amount of Orbs of Will he needed to spend would be numbered in hundreds of thousands.
Miao Yi found it a little difficult to imagine how many Orbs of Will a Red Lotus cultivator such as those of the Hall Master rank would need to use—it was no wonder cultivation took so many years! Even if there were enough Orbs of Will, one would still need to persevere through an unreasonably great length of time before the results would slowly reveal themselves.
Thus, it was easy to imagine what life was like for those cultivators who did not have much Orbs of Will. No wonder Yuan Fang and the others had already become old men with merely a Blue Lotus First Grade cultivation.
To begin with, cultivators did not age easily. One could well imagine the number of years that would need to pass for a cultivator to become an old man. Alas, even though a cultivator had long lifespans, they spent more of their time in solitary cultivation, and might not even be as happy as mortal in their short lives.
There was no point in thinking about how to cross that bridge until one got to it. Why did he need to think so hard for? Weren’t there a lot of cultivators who had high cultivations, but still looked very young?
Since someone else could do it, there was no reason why he couldn’t do it too.
Miao Yi gave himself a little motivation, and invoked his arts to refine the remaining half of the mid-grade Orb of Will in his mouth once more.
As expected, once he examined his speed of refining Orb of Will more closely after breaking through to White Lotus Fourth Grade, his refining speed had clearly become much faster.
Initially when he was at the third grade, he needed almost two months to refine a low-grade Orb of Will, so he could only refine six orbs in a single year. Now it seemed like he would be able to refine nine orbs in a year, essentially needing only around a month to refine one orb.
Based on these calculations, it would only take him a little over four years to finish the forty Orbs of Will necessary to break through to the fifth grade.
As soon as he had a rough figure in his mind, he was about to continue cultivating, when he was surprised by good news.
Qian’Er and Xue’Er voices called out from outside the silent quarters, and said, "Qian’Er. Xue’Er. We request to see master."
Still seated in his cross-legged posture, Miao Yi slowly opened his eyes. He could feel there was something different about the two girls’ tone, so he said, "Enter!"
The two girls entered side by side. When they reached the pond, they separated and circled around from the sides. They came to a stop in front of the stone seat, before standing together once more, and lowered their bodies in greeting. Both of them had an ecstatic expression on their faces, and their eyes held a brilliant shine.
"What is the matter?" Miao Yi asked.
The two lively girls share a look and nodded. When they looked towards Miao Yi again, a ripple of transcendence energy surged from their bodies as the shadow of a single-petaled white lotus flower shone on their foreheads.
Miao Yi was taken aback at first, but soon let out a hearty laugh, "It turns out that both of your cultivations have entered the grade scale. Good, good, good. Truly one joyous news after another."
Seeing their master happy, the two girls revealed brilliant smiles as well—thinking that the consecutive news he was referring to, was how the both of them had broken through to White Lotus First Grade together.
They didn’t know that Miao Yi was referring to how his own cultivation had also broken through to White Lotus Fourth Grade. The two joyous news was referring to how both Master and handmaidens had broken through together.
After he finished rejoicing, Miao Yi studied the two girls once more, feeling a little melancholic. Their cultivations were truly at White Lotus First Grade.
Thinking back to when the two girls first began following him, he had only just arrived in East Arrival Cave, and his cultivation was only at White Lotus First Grade then. Now, the two girls had also broken through to White Lotus First Grade in their cultivation.
He remembered back then, the two girls were still a pair of snot-nosed brats. However, now they had already grown into very comely figures. They dressed with elegance, and were both charming on the outside, yet intelligent inside. Their skin was fair and soft; their lips lusciously red. They were poised and graceful; their bright eyes shining with a gleam that was all too alluring. Both of these fine young ladies had truly become women. How many years had passed already?
Miao Yi sounded a little hesitant as he asked, "The both of you have followed me for almost seven years now, right?"
The two girls also sudden realized the same after hearing him speak. They looked at one another, then nodded simultaneously and said, "A little over seven years."
"Seven years…," muttered Miao Yi. He remembered how back when he was cultivating on the island, he only spent four years to break through to White Lotus First Grade. On the other hand, the two girls spent a whole seven years for their first step. It seemed they were much slower than he was back then.
He wouldn’t have known that if it wasn’t for Yao Ruoxian giving them advice mid-way, and if the two girls had continued to only cultivate under Yan Xiu—they would probably have spent over ten years for this first step.
Seeing their master so quiet, the two girls were somewhat restless because they had been pushed to come in by Yao Ruoxian; he was just outside.
After reminiscing for a moment, Miao Yi snapped back to reality and chuckled, "Both of you are White Lotus First Grade already. In the future, it will be more convenient for you two to help me do tasks. A reward for the both of you!"
He reached into his robes, and took out two storage rings. He held one in each palm and smiled. "Take it. With your transcendence energy now, you will be able to use it. It will also be more convenient when you two need to take items."
The two girls both stepped forward, and reached out with both hands to receive the rings. Then they excitedly said, "Thank you, Master."
Originally, the both of them always addressed him as Cave Master, but recently, Miao Yi had the two of them change it. He told them that right now, Yan Xiu was still the Cave Master after all.
It seemed to be a little lacking to just gift them with two rings. After Miao Yi gave it some thought, he reached into his storage ring again, and took out four mid-grade Orbs of Will that gave off a gentle glow. "As of now, both of you already have the ability to refine Orbs of Will. This Orb of Will will help you to quickly raise your cultivation. For now, both of you will each take two orbs to use. It should last you two for some time. Come find me to get more when it isn’t enough. If you two have anything you do not understand as you are using them, you can look to Senior Yao for advice."
The two girls excitedly received the items, and thanked Miao Yi again.
"You two don’t have to worry about not having sufficient Orbs of Will to use. Just use them as you like. What’s most important is to work hard and raise your cultivation. Only when your cultivation is high will you be able to better help me accomplish tasks." Miao Yi smiled as he swept his hand out, and said, "Go then! Focus on your cultivation!"
"Understood!" the two girls excitedly left the silent quarters, and no longer bothered his closed-door cultivation.
As the two girls left the silent quarters and made their way into the courtyard outside the house, they saw Yao Ruoxian in the pavilion sneakily waving his hand at the two of them.
The two girls immediately skipped over. Each girl held onto one of his arms as they excitedly said, "Teacher. Master really rewarded us."
These two girls got along extremely well with Yao Ruoxian. Even though Yan Xiu was considered half their teacher as well, their time with Yan Xiu was a little more restricted.
It wasn’t because they wanted to play up to Yao Ruoxian due to his higher cultivation, but because Yao Ruoxian had a frivolous nature to begin with. He wasn’t one for formalities, so the two of them found that they liked him; it was normal for youngsters to be playful after all.
On the other hand, because Yan Xiu had to be conscious of the two of them being Miao Yi’s handmaidens, he would always treat them like Elder Auntie and Little Auntie. He abided by the formalities closely, making both parties feel somewhat distant from one another.
In contrast, Yao Ruoxian did not care about differences in status. Even the former Cave Master Miao would have to endure a beating when facing him. ‘Don’t act like some pretentious Cave Master before me. I will beat a Cave Master up, just as I would beat anyone else up.’
"Didn’t I tell you? I already said that you two would be rewarded if you went inside to tell him the good news. That brat isn’t a virtuous man, but he is still quite soft towards the people by his side," laughed Yao Ruoxian as he stroked his mess of a beard. "Hurry up and show me. Let me take a look at what that brat gave you two."
The two girls immediately flashed out the items in their hands. On each of their palms, was a storage ring and two mid-grade Orbs of Will.
Normally, this reward was considered quite good for someone who just entered the White Lotus First Grade. If it were anyone else, how would they be able to get a storage ring? Two mid-grade Orbs of Will were already equivalent to twenty low-grade Orbs of Will.
Yao Ruoxian took the storage rings from both their hands, and imbued his transcendence energy inside to take a look. He thought that there would be something inside at first, but it turned out that they were empty.
After he placed the storage rings back on the two girls’ palms, he began grumbling peculiarly, "I thought he gifted you two something good—you two are his personal handmaidens after all—yet he only gifted so little. That brat is unbelieveable. It seems he needs a beating."
The two of them immediately stuck their tongues out in response. Xue’Er shook her head and said, "Teacher. These two gifts are already quite significant. Many in East Arrival Cave don’t even have a storage ring."
Qian’Er also nodded and said, "That’s right. Two mid-grade Orbs of Will are equal to twenty low-grade Orbs of Will. The others in East Arrival Cave won’t even be able to obtain so many Orbs of Will in a year. It is already enough for us to use for a long time."
"Pfft! Shortsighted girls. You already consider these mere trinkets as treasures?" Yao Ruoxian rolled his eyes and sneered whilst he stroking his beard, "That Master of yours is a small tycoon—he is practically swimming in wealth. Back when he was in the Sea of Constellations, he alone killed off seventy-two Second Grade Yao cultivators and gathered all the treasures from the bodies of those seventy-two Fort Masters. In just storage rings alone, he has a staggering two hundred pieces."
The two girls were shocked. Now, they were aware that a Second Grade Yao cultivator was on par with a Blue Lotus realm cultivator. They couldn’t imagine that their Master had killed seventy-two of them by himself. However, their Master never mentioned this to them before.
Nonetheless, the two of them always revered Miao Yi, and believed that it was normal for Miao Yi to be impressive. They had never seen Miao Yi not being able to accomplish something before.
"Now do you know how rich your Master actually is? This is fine and all, but most importantly, that brat has an Immortal Herb. Not your average Immortal Herb, but a divine treasure that is hard to come by even in tens of thousands of years. Just that Immortal Herb alone is worth more than my entire fortune. He is swimming in riches, yet he only gifted these few things to his personal handmaidens. He truly is too unbelievable. It’s as if he’s trying to brush you two off like beggars with just a few trinkets."
Qian’Er waved her hands and said, "It’s not like this. Master said that we could just use the Orbs of Will as we please, and that we can go ask for more from him if we don’t have enough."
"What’s the use of just having Orbs of Will?" Yao Ruoxian said as he clapped his hands together. Then he shrugged, and said, "You two are too simple-minded! Transcendent artifacts! What about the transcendent artifacts? The two of you should have your own transcendent artifacts at least. That way, you two will be able to protect yourselves somewhat in the event of danger, and not be sitting ducks!"
He swept his hand to the two of them, and added, "Go, go, go. That brat has plenty of materials for refining transcendent artifacts on him. Go ask him for more, and have him gift you two with some materials for refining transcendent artifacts. After that, I will personally refine a piece of transcendent artifacts for you two to call your own."