Chapter 23: Horse Deputy
It didn’t take long before the old drunkard returned with an apologetic smile on his face, submissively following behind a tall, upright man.
The man was carrying a sword on his back, and gave the impression of a delicate beauty. He sized Miao Yi up and down, and hesitatingly said, “I’m Cao Dingfeng, you are looking for me?”
Miao Yi immediately took out and handed the jade archive over to him. After Cao Dingfeng received it, he studied the archive by pouring his transcendence energy into it. After he was done, his face showed a look of comprehension and he instantly smiled at Miao Yi, saying, “So, it’s Brother Miao. Since Brother Chen entrusted you to me, I’ll do my very best. Please follow me to meet the Cave Master.”
Miao Yi thanked him and was about to rein his horse along when Cao Dingfeng, who was somewhat taken back, asked, “Is this your horse?”
But after seeing the embarrassed look on Miao Yi’s face, he immediately turned to face the brandy-nosed old man and said in a rude tone, “Shi Xiang, look after the horse!”
In the cultivation abode of Immortals, it wasn’t suitable for a profane horse to go about on its own.
The brandy nosed old man immediately nodded his head and bowed before leading Miao Yi’s horse away, his face full of flattery as he said, “I’ll help you look after it.”
Miao Yi thanked him, holding onto the silver spear in his hand as he trailed behind Cao Dingfeng to enter the main gate.
Both of them conversed as they walked. It was obvious to see that Cao Dingfeng had a great relationship with Chen Fei, or else he wouldn’t be this welcoming towards Miao Yi, who only had his cultivation at White Lotus First Grade.
After ascending the limestone flight of stairs, they reached the the outside of the grand hall where they saw a plaque that had the words “Transient Light” engraved on it, Cao Dingfeng requested Miao Yi to wait outside the hall for a while as he turned to go up the dozens of flights of stairs, entering the hall at a hastened pace.
Miao Yi who patiently waited outside, gave his surroundings a good look. Although this place was located deep in the mountains, it was far better than any of the places he had lived in and seen before. There were pavilions, terraces, open halls and a jade-blue lotus lake. It was utterly and breathtakingly beautiful.
But his wait this time was quite long; he had been standing there for about an hour. Eventually, he saw Cao Dingfeng walk out of the hall.
Although Cao Dingfeng still had his usual grin on his face, Miao Yi could tell his smile was slightly forced. He wasn’t sure whether the man had managed to convince the Transient Light Cave Master to let him join. But by the looks of it, he figured it hadn’t gone smoothly.
“Brother Miao.” Cao Dingfeng stood on the tall steps, beckoning Miao Yi to follow him.
Miao Yi quickly moved towards him. As they stood side by side, Cao Dingfeng invoked his arts to transmit his voice to Miao Yi. “Brother Miao, no matter what the Cave Master asks you to do later, just agree to it first. When your cultivation has improved in the future, you can fight for more then. The most important thing right now is finding a way to stay. Don’t waste Brother Chen’s painstakingly made efforts. ”
Miao Yi mumbled in his heart. Sure enough, it didn’t go smoothly at all. But he still nodded his head in reply.
After both of them entered the grand hall, he saw a lean man occupying the high seat in the middle in the main hall, with a man and woman standing under him. The three of them were deep in the middle of a discussion.
Noticing that people had entered the hall, the three of them stopped their conversation and directed their gazes onto Miao Yi.
Miao Yi swept a glance through the three people, locking his eyes onto the lean man commanding the high seat. He reckoned that the man was definitely the Transient Light Cave’s Cave Master.
“Brother Miao, this is our Cave Master. Quickly pay your respects!” Cao Dingfeng grinned as he gave his referral.
Miao Yi cupped his spear at once as he bowed, “I, Miao Yi, have to come to pay my respects to Cave Master.”
Yuan Zhengkun, the Cave Master of Transient Light Cave frowned slightly as he said, “I heard from Dingfeng that your cultivation is only at White Lotus First Grade?”
“Yes!” Miao Yi didn’t attempt to hide the truth.
This kind of thing couldn’t be hidden for too long anyway. He revealed the transcendence imagery on his spiritual point, causing the pathetic looking one-petaled White Lotus to emerge from it.
The man and woman standing below slightly shook their heads with helplessness as they looked towards Cao Dingfeng. Cao Dingfeng cast them a smile in return, as though he were saying please bear with it and let it go for now.
Cave Master Yuan Zhengkun said half-heartedly, “Dingfeng has followed me for many years, and since he strongly recommends you, I won’t say anything further. Here, we’re currently lacking one more Horse Deputy, so I’m not sure if you would like to take up the post. If you feel that it would be a waste of your talents, then you can go and seek other alternatives.”
Miao Yi couldn’t figure out what a Horse Deputy was, but since he had already promised Cao Dingfeng earlier, he naturally cupped his fists and accepted it. “Subordinate is willing to comply with your commands.”
Yuan Zhengkun nodded his head. “Then from now on, we are as family. Dingfeng, bring him with you and make the arrangements.”
Miao Yi and Cao Dingfeng gave their thanks and withdrew.
After exiting the grand hall, Miao Yi followed Cao Dingfeng to the back of the mountain.
Cao Dingfeng called forth the drunk old man called Shi Xiang and a woman to the front of him.
As before, old man Shi Xiang nodded his head and bowed, but the woman kept a straight face.
“Shi Xiang, Madame Shi Xiang. This is the new Horse Deputy. Please assist to make arrangements for him. As it’s his first time here, please help him with anything he doesn’t understand.”
Cao Dingfeng still had some matters to attend to, so after briefing them he made a move to depart. But as he was about to leave, he suddenly remembered something, then turned to face Shi Xiang and his wife, his face darkening as he said, “Brother Miao is now my brother. Don’t assume that both of you can be insolent just because he’s new. You husband and wife better not play any tricks, because if that’s the case, I can’t be held responsible for what I’ll do!”
He was afraid that Miao Yi would be mistreated, and so he made his position clear to shield him.
Of course, Miao Yi knew that the reason why he was behaving this way was due to Chen Fei. Both him and Cao Dingfeng did not know each other that well. The man was only trying his best to do what was being entrusted to him, all to show his respect to Chen Fei.
“We won’t. We won’t,” Old man Shi Xiang guaranteed, his face beaming.
Madame Shi Xiang still kept a straight look on her face, as if someone owed her money.
After sending Cao Dingfeng on his way, both husband and wife led Miao Yi to look for a residence, one that was situated at the foot of a hill and beside a stream.
Even though it was a single, small house with a small courtyard, it was still complete with pavilions, terraces, open halls, flowers and trees. Although small, it didn’t lack the necessary components and was overall exquisite in every detail.
“From now on this will be your cultivation residence. Look and see if it satisfies your needs. If it displeases you, there is an empty residence at the foot of the mountain over there. How about we go there to take a look?”
Drunkard Shi Xiang explained politely, smiling in front of Miao Yi.
Miao Yi toured around the courtyard and discovered there was nobody inside. He asked in surprise, “My cultivation residence? This is for me to live in alone?”
“Of course. Every cultivator in Transient Light Cave will have their own residence and courtyard,” Shi Xiang replied with a grin.
Miao Yi didn’t see anything to feel unsatisfied with. He had never before stayed in such an amazing residence like this, so he nodded at once, saying, “There’s no need for the trouble. This is good enough, so I’ll stay here.”
As he was done saying that, he recalled his assigned business. He turned his head and asked, “Senior Shi Xiang. What does a Horse Deputy do?”
Madame Shi Xiang’s words carried a sting as she ambiguously replied, “Horse keeping.”
The madame didn’t seem fond of the two words ‘Shi Xiang’, giving the impression that she would go mad if she heard the same address again.
“Horse keeping?” Miao Yi was astounded.
He soon found out the answer. Both husband and wife took him to Hidden Dragon Valley. The Hidden Dragon Valley rose steeply from three sides and was a gourd shaped valley with a narrow exit. All the Transient Light Cave cultivators kept their dragon steeds in this location.
Miao Yi’s responsibility was to raise the eleven fine steeds in the valley, and thereafter he was known as the Horse Deputy.
As to the reason why the dragon steeds were gathered together to rear, it was because their owners were all cultivators. For the majority of their day, the cultivators would place all their energy into cultivating, so who would have the leisure time and mood to take care of their own mounts on a daily basis?
This type of menial task shouldn’t even be done by a cultivator. But alas, a dragon steed has extraordinary physical strength, so a mere ordinary mortal wouldn’t be able to control it. The dragon steed’s rapid speed was like a sudden clap of thunder and even a brief backward kick of its hind legs would be too quick for an ordinary person to dodge, the impact enough to batter them to a pulp. Since that one brief kick could result in their death, then rearing a dragon steed would be impossible. So this task could only be done by a cultivator.
Under normal circumstances, this kind of work was better kept under the table, and would usually be done by the lowest ranked cultivator. And since Miao Yi was new and had the lowest cultivation, who would do it if not him? If it were not to honor Cao Dingfeng’s request, Transient Light Cave’s Cave Master wouldn’t have kept Miao Yi at all.