"Why not?" The usually calm Huo Lingxiao flung his arms out, and continued to speak insolently, "I am in charge of the entire Suppressing Second Hall. Who dares defy my orders? Not just good wines, I can have anybody’s head swiftly handed to me if I so desire it!"
Tian Yu knew that he was currently in a good mood, so she was cheerful as well. However, she still had to remind him,"Hall Master, The Cave Master of East Arrival Cave has been replaced with another. That Miao Yi was already demoted to a Horse Deputy by Yang Qing, remember?"
Her reminder had Huo Lingxiao stumped on the spot.
Indeed, Huo Lingxiao was that Xiao Yizhu. The one forced by Miao Yi to become sworn brothers after meeting each other in the plum garden of Suppressing Second Hall.
Miao Yi had only done so to escape from the scene. Then, he shoved a pot of wine to Xiao Yizhu, and left swiftly after that.
For Miao Yi, the pledge of brotherhood was insignificant, as he had never taken it to heart at all.
Huo Lingxiao was aware of that. Of course, he didn’t have any respect for a mere Cave Master of East Arrival Cave. For him, just like it was for Miao Yi, the pledge in the plum garden was just a momentary whimsy. He never kept that little brother in mind.
After all, he was the Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall. Without a doubt, he would never let another soul know that he had pledged brotherhood with a mere Cave Master.
If news of the brotherhood spread to the public, Miao Yi could only gain from it as he didn’t need to take any responsibility. With his limited capability, he wouldn’t even be able to bear an ounce of responsibility for the situation, so there was no psychological burden whatsoever.
However for Huo Lingxiao, once news of that leaked out to the public, he would be put in a slightly awkward situation. As a Hall Master, he had tremendous power and authority. It wouldn’t make sense for a powerful man like him to pledge brotherhood with someone like Miao Yi.
Logic aside, if Huo Lingxiao were to be sincere about the pledge, he would definitely have to take good care of Miao Yi. Yet, what kind of brotherhood had both of them pledged to? Wouldn’t it be burdensome to drag along a man of such a mediocre standing? It would be better if he continued to act like nothing had happened at all.
Moreover, what kind of scene would it be for the Hall Master to command the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave—who was about a hundred and eight thousand li apart—to serve him wine? That person he wished to call wasn’t a Cave Master anymore. If he insisted on East Arrival Cave serving him wine, that person as a Horse Deputy, might not oblige him. Huo Lingxiao couldn’t possibly re-assign the Horse Deputy to serve wine, could he?
If he really wished to go that far, everyone would definitely investigate the matter further.
"Forget about my desire!"
Huo Lingxiao sighed and waved his hand, eventually giving up on his spontaneous impulse….
At Suppressing Third Hall, a piece of good news had arrived from Suppressing Second Hall.
Handmaiden Fei Yun came to the entrance of the silent quarters and knocked on the door. "Hall Master."
"Come in!" Wu Menglan casually replied from inside the silent quarters.
Not long after Fei Yun entered the quarters, Wu Menglan let out a deep groan, "How shameless!"
Wu Menglan’s mood wasn’t just bad. Her face expressionless as she returned to the main hall, and seated herself. She crushed the jade archive in her hands with a ‘crack’. This woman seemed to have a habit of crushing things with her hands.
Fei Yun asked, "Will Hall Master going to attend the feast to convey your congratulations?"
"Congratulate? Should I bring a gift for Huo Lingxiao and congratulate him?" said Wu Menglan, rolling her eyes at Fei Yun.
Realizing that her inquiry had upset her master, Fei Yun quickly ducked her head and remain silent.
"You really think that he wanted to have a feast with me? He just wants to show off to me!" Wu Menglan slammed the tea table, before continuing with a determined tone: "Pay no attention to him!"
Despite saying so, Huo Lingxiao had surpassed her cultivation level, so her mood was obviously still affected. From the look of it, she would have no mood to continue cultivating for the moment. Wu Menglan faced her, and asked, "Has anything happened recently?"
"Everything is as it were. No serious issues have cropped up." replied Fei Yun, as she took out a pile of jade archives from the storage ring, before placing it on the tea table.
Wu Menglan was still irritated, and took one of the jade archive to examine it, hoping to divert her attention to something else.
Huo Lingxiao and her used to be lovers, but because of Huo Lingxiao’s involvement with another woman, both of them had an argument and went their separate ways. After that, Huo Lingxiao realized that she was still the best for him, so he pursued her once more. With Wu Menglan’s temper as it was, she asked him to bugger off without saying another word.
In the end, both of them clashed with each other using their strength. After some competition, one thing led to another—which led them to both achieve their current status.
Upon achieving their position, both of them had to maintain a cooperative relationship with each other for their benefits and interests.
As she continued to read each of the jade archives, Wu Menglan discovered that most of the jade archives were from Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. She could immediately understand why this was so.
Nowadays, Liu Jingtian couldn’t afford to make any mistake, regardless of whether it was a small mistake, or a big one. He continued to ask for instructions no matter how big or small the matter was.
"Why is it East Arrival Cave again?" Wu Menglan straightened her head all of a sudden. She waved the jade archive in her hand and asked, "Are the list of remunerations from the East Arrival Cave still being delivered here every year?"
"Yes!" replied Fei Yun. "This is the thirtieth one. Even though Mount Returning Loyalty has denounced the message, East Arrival Cave still continues sending the archive without changing a single word from the last."
Wu Menglan didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. "I have been waiting for them to stir up problems so that I can see and deal with Huo Lingxiao. Yet what is up with them sending these jade archives every year? Even if he doesn’t consider the East Arrival Cave annoying, I’m already fed up with reading these jade archives."
She tossed the jade archive to the table and said, "What is wrong with them? Had Liu Jingtian not discovered anything of them?"
"I have asked Liu Jingtian before. He reported back by saying that the East Arrival Cave is different from the other abodes of Suppressing Second Hall. He can easily retrieve information from members of the other abodes once there confused, but the members of East Arrival Cave are very unified, like a piece of solid metal. Moreover, those members are keeping a low-profile, so it is difficult for an outsider to retrieve anything from them."
"Why do I keep thinking that scum Huo Lingxiao is intentionally trying to provoke me?" Wu Menglan mumbled to herself, as she grabbed the jade archive again.
In reality, as the Manor Head of the Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor, Liu Jingtian was quite grateful that East Arrival Cave kept sending the jade archive every year.
While Wu Menglan kept suspecting that Huo Lingxiao was trying to provoke her, she didn’t want him to think that she was angry as a result of being embarrassed at her subordinates. This was why she hasn’t made her move against Liu Jingtian, otherwise his position as the Manor Head would have already been replaced with someone else.
"Asking that good-for-nothing person to ask for information is useless! I want to see for myself what they are really doing." said Wu Menglan tossing another the jade archive again…..
In Suppressing Second Hall, between a mountain and a lake, a boat was floating in the middle of the water.
Huo Lingxiao was in a good mood, and continued to relax as he sat at the rear of the boat fishing. Liu Xing knelt at the side while cooking fresh fish on a small stove, which was giving out an appetizing aroma.
A silhouette slided over the water and landed on the boat—it was Tian Yu. She approached Liu Xing and took a whiff of the delicious aroma from the pot; she showed a content expression.
"Is there any reply from Wu Menglan?" asked Huo Lingxiao, as he held onto his fishing pole.
"No. I guess she isn’t coming to celebrate with master." Yian Yu chuckled.
Huo Lingxiao swung his fishing pole upwards, yet there was nothing on the hook. He swept his gaze across the lake, and with a sudden swing of the fishing pole, the fishing line plunged swiftly into the water. In the next moment, he quickly lifted up the pole. A heavy fish weighing ten jin was hooked onto his fishing line.
He threw the fishing pole with the fish onto the floor of the boat. Standing up, he clapped his hands, and said, "If she’s not coming, I’m going to look for her."
He upped, and left straightaway, his silhouette took the sky instantly.
Tian Yu and Liu Xing glanced at each other, and shook their heads speechlessly. The delicacy they had meticulously prepared for their dear Hall Master was all for nought…..
On the outskirts of East Arrival Cave, a person was riding on a dragon steed and galloped steadily towards the cave. It was none other than the Hall Master of the Suppressing Second Hall, Huo Lingxiao.
Initially, he wanted to directly head to Suppressing Third Hall to invite Wu Menglan to have a feast with him. Since she wasn’t coming to him, he decided that he would personally go and bring the feast to her.
In reality, he just wanted to provoke Wu Menglan. That woman had provoked him quite a lot, including harassing him inappropriately. How could he let it slide after all of that?
Halfway through his journey, he realized that he had already crossed over to the territory of South Edict Manor. At that moment, he couldn’t help but think about the East Arrival Cave in this area. Since he had came to this side, he decided to make a few jug of wine at East Arrival Cave. Wasn’t he going to bring a feast for Wu Menglan? It would be a good excuse to have good wine as well.
It would be inconvenient if he allowed East Arrival Cave to deliver those fine wines, because they would raise a ruckus. Since he had personally come, it would be better for him to stop by for a short while. Those at the lower levels might not be able to recognize him anyway.
And so, Huo Lingxiao had summoned a dragon steed and prepared to rush towards East Arrival Cave to pretend to pay a visit to his sworn brother.
In an unexpected turn, when he arrived at the path to East Arrival Cave, he was met with another steed coming from the opposite direction.
When he saw the dragon steed in front of him, Huo Lingxiao thought his eyes were playing tricks with him. He quickly halted his mount, and opened his eyes wider to take a closer look.
The steed in front of him halted as well. Atop the mount was a beautiful woman of peerless elegance.
The two dragon steeds stopped before the entrance, and the humans riding them were left speechless when they saw each other. One man and one woman, their eyes widening as they caught sight of one another.
This beautiful woman wasn’t a stranger. She was Wu Menglan, the Hall Master of Suppressing Third Hall.
The two Hall Masters would never have dreamed, that they would meet each other like this at this point. Moreover, both of them happened to bump into one another whilst mounted on their dragon steeds. It was quite an unbelievable sight.
Huo Lingxiao ordered his dragon steed to circle Wu Menglan slowly a few round. He examined this woman from top to bottom, and noticed that she had already changed to a full plain blue casual wear. Despite that, she was still as elegant as ever.
"Wu Menglan. What are you doing here?" Huo Lingxiao cautiously asked with his brows raised.
In contrast, Wu Menglan was sneering at him silently. ‘Why would a Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall come all the way to this tiny East Arrival Cave?’ It seemed she was right about this scum being up to some kind of mischief, and intentionally provoking her.
"This may be your territory, but there are no rule suggesting that I can’t pass by, right? Unless you’re thinking about going to the Palace Lord to tip him off?" snapped Wu Menglan.
"Passing by?" Huo Lingxiao peeked at the path leading to East Arrival Cave, before turning back to observe Wu Menglan’s dragon steed. He then laughed coldly and said, "As a Hall Master of Suppressing Third Hall such as yourself, it is quite surprising for you to come by while riding on a dragon steed."
Wu Menglan argued, "As the Hall Master of the Suppressing Second Hall yourself, I also think that it is strange for you to ride a dragon steed and appear here!"
"This is my territory. I do what I want."
"Perhaps you have an objection to my actions?"
"Of course not." Huo Lingxiao turned to look in the direction of the East Arrival Cave again and continued, "However, for you to appear here like this, I can’t help but doubt whether or not you have an ulterior motive. Let’s stop beating around the bush. Tell me what you are doing here?"
"Take a look yourself." Wu Menglan took out a jade archive from her storage ring, and tossed it in his direction.
Huo Lingxiao caught the jade archive in his hands, and took a look at it. After he read the contents of the archive, he was stunned. "List of remunerations…. Mount Returning Loyalty attacked the East Arrival Cave again?"
He was thinking how it was that he didn’t know about it. This matter concerned two halls, so there was no way that his subordinates would daringly hide this fact from him this way.
"Pretend! Keep pretending." Wu Menglan pointed at the jade archive in his hand, laughing coldly all the while. "Huo Lingxiao. Do you dare say that you did not secretly give the command?"