"What do you mean ‘I commanded’?" Huo Lingxiao was rather confused, "You mean I commanded Mount Returning Loyalty to attack East Arrival Cave? Wu Menglan. You aren’t really so deluded, are you?"
"Pfft! Stop acting innocent!" Wu Menglan pointed at the article in his hands. "It’s the event that happened over ten years ago. At the time, you already squeezed out compensation from my hands. Then, East Arrival Cave sent over a list of recompense after that. What are you trying to achieve by doing this?"
Huo Lingxiao was a little lost. "Something over ten years ago? You’ve been keeping something like this all this time?"
He said, as though he was implying she had nothing better to do.
"Pfft! This is already the thirteenth one. East Arrival Cave has been sending me a list every year. I came here precisely to find out what exactly you are scheming!"
‘Send a list every year?’ Huo Lingxiao was speechless. ‘What is this East Arrival Cave trying to do?’
He finally grasped the entire picture and, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, he said, "Wu Menglan. Are you still day dreaming? How could an honorable Hall Master like as myself send a direct command to a Cave to do such a thing?"
Wu Menglan’s face was full of mockery as she said, "Then may I ask what the honorable Suppressing Second Hall Master is doing secretly riding a dragon steed to this East Arrival Cave?"
"....." Huo Lingxiao was at a lost for words, and looked down at the dragon steed he was mounted on. It really felt like a giant target had fallen down from the skies, and landed on his shoulders. Not only had he been unjustly blamed for something he had no idea about, he was still being pressured because of it. This time, he really had no way of talking his way out of this.
"Why? Are you speechless because I revealed your true intentions?" scoffed Wu Menglan.
"This is truly unjust!" said Huo Lingxiao, sighing helplessly. "If I tell you that I came here to gift you some wine for a celebration, would you believe me?"
"What do you think?" said Wu Menglan, narrowing her eyes. "Could the great Hall Master Huo have such great foresight, that you already knew I would be coming here; and so came all this way, just to celebrate with me?"
"Give me a chance to explain this. Miao Yi, the East Arrival Cave Master-"
Wu Menglan cut him off before he could finish, "As far as I know, that Miao Yi is no longer the East Arrival Cave Master, no?"
"Let me finish. That Miao Yi has some great liquor stashed away. The reason I came here is precisely to seek him out, and ask for a few pots; after which, I would them deliver to you." As soon as he finished speaking, he caught sight of Wu Menglan’s disdainful expression, and couldn’t help immediately shaking his head. He laughed bitterly, "Fine. I knew you wouldn’t believe me."
"If you want me to believe you, can you at least use your brain a little? You have to at least make it sound believable if you’re going to tell lie! Why could the honorable Suppressing Second Hall Master come all this way just for some good wine when he could just order his men to send it over?" Tilting her head, Wu Menglan continued asking, "Why don’t you go ask if anyone in your own Suppressing Second Hall would believe your nonsense? Huo Lingxiao, oh, Huo Lingxiao. After so many years, your nature of deceiving women with a mouthful of lies has not changed at all! Your lies might work on other women, but do you think these tricks would still work on me?"
Huo Lingxiao’s expression twitched; that escalated quickly. No one would believe him anyway even if he told the truth.
He threw both his hands up, as though announcing his surrender, and earnestly said, "Let me tell you the truth then. That East Arrival Cave Master, Miao Yi, is actually my sworn brother. However, he doesn’t know my true identity. I don’t want him to discover it either, which is why I came all this way, dressed like this."
Wu Menglan was a little startled. "Your sworn brother? An honorable Suppressing Second Hall Hall Master like yourself would swear an oath with the Horse Deputy of a mere Cave?"
Huo Lingxiao didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. "I didn’t wish for it either! I only swore an oath with him, because I was held at spearpoint and forced to do so."
Wu Menglan was quite astonished. Given Huo Lingxiao’s cultivation, it was easy to imagine how powerful a cultivation the person had, to force him to swear this oath. She couldn’t help but ask, "Who was it that forced you?"
Huo Lingxiao pointed into the distance, "It was precisely that Miao Yi of East Arrival Cave."
"..." Wu Menglan’s face darkened. Thinking that she had been duped yet again, she became furious with shame. Her dragon steed suddenly launched a surprise attack, and viciously charged at Huo Lingxiao.
Huo Lingxiao thrust forward with his palm—the air rippled, and the oncoming dragon steed was forced to a halt by the might of his transcendence energy. He hurriedly tried to explain, "WAIT UNTIL I FINISH! This incident started off in my Suppressing Second Hall’s plum blossom garden. That day, I…."
He soon detailed the events that led to Miao Yi and he becoming sworn brothers. Wu Menglan stayed her hand, and started listening to what Huo Lingxiao said as he eventually explained himself.
After listening to his explanation, and looking through the writ of oath he handed over, Wu Menglan was convinced. She was surprised, and commented, "There’s actually someone so odd in this world?"
"What do you mean by odd? I was only doing it for a bit of fun back then. I’m warning you, you better not let news of this get out. Otherwise, don’t blame me for being discourteous!"
From atop her dragon steed, Wu Menglan immediately began laughing her head off, thinking about how Huo Lingxiao was held at spearpoint by a mere Cave Master, and forced to swear an oath. She almost cried from laughing too much. She pointed at him and continued laughing, "So that’s why you’re sneaking around here now? This is called ‘Reaping what you sow’."
Huo Lingxiao smiled to see Wu Menglan laughing her heart out, and teased, "You still look the same as you did back then when you laugh. That charming energy of yours is still there. When I think back…., those were such fond memories!"
"...." Wu Menglan instantly stopped laughing. Realizing she was being teased, she glared and said "Piss off!"
"Why are you acting so distant?" said Huo Lingxiao as he shook his head. "I even told you such a dark secret of mine. Don’t tell me you can’t even understand a little of my wish?"
Wu Menglan stuck out her hand and said, "Gosh, that’s quite simple. If you want me to understand your wish, just hand over your entire fortune to me! Then, we can talk."
‘Did I overdo it?’ Huo Lingxiao raised his head to gaze at the skies, and feigned ignorance. "Wait for me here. I’ll be back soon. After I get the fine wine, we can sit down and have a nice long talk."
Turning his dragon steed around, he brought it to a gallop straight at the entrance of the mountain.
Wu Menglan scoffed at him. Then, quickly turned her dragon steed around, and chased after him.
Hearing some noise behind him, Huo Lingxiao turned around to look. He waited for her to catch up to him, and furrowed his brows, asking "Why are you still coming along? I’ve told you that the list of recompense had nothing to do with me. Why would you hold this against a mere East Arrival Cave?"
"I just want to have a peek at what the Great Cave Master Miao, who could even force the Great Hall Master Huo to submit, looks like." Wu Menglan said with a faint smile.
Huo Lingxiao shook his head. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to stop her.
Once the two of them reached the entrance of East Arrival Cave, they were stopped by the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers asked them to state their identities, but neither of them were willing to name themselves.
Seated on his high horse, Huo Lingxiao said with an overbearing tone, "Tell Miao Yi that an old friend from Suppressing Second Hall has come to visit."
Once they heard it was from Suppressing Second Hall, the gatekeepers went away with a hint of suspicion in their hearts.
Not long after, Qian’Er received the gatekeepers’ report, and proceeded to the silent quarters to relay the message.
"An old friend of Suppressing Second Hall?" Miao Yi had been sitting cross-legged in the midst of his cultivation. He thought for a moment, then said, "I barely know anyone from Suppressing Second Hall…. Where did this impudent fellow come from? To dare use Suppressing Second Hall’s name to come up here. Have Yan Xiu bring some men to handle it!"
After he said this, he closed his eyes once again and resumed cultivating.
Miao Yi wasn’t so arrogant that he would be unwilling to even meet the other party. It was just that there were too many of these crafty fellows looking to take advantage of others in this cultivation realm. Sometimes, they would say they were from Mount Calming Sea; other times, South Edict Manor. They would always use the name of the superiors, because it was risky to get on their bad side.
It had been fine while Miao Yi was still in charge of East Arrival Cave—everyone knew he was highly regarded by Yang Qing, and that he was incredibly ferocious in his own right. So no one dared to take advantage of him.
Ever since those bastards from the three major schools began populating the two Manors, they weren’t well liked. They had never experienced Miao Yi’s might before. Moreover, as the new head of East Arrival Cave, Yan Xiu was nowhere as unyielding as Miao Yi; someone who had the audacity to even make an attempt on the life of Mount Calming Sea’s Mountain Chieftain, Xiong Xiao.
There was a reason why East Arrival Cave was repeatedly harassed so. It was because most of the members of East Arrival Cave were from the School of Blue Jade. After the disciples of the three major schools joining the two Manors came to know of the grievances between Yang Qing and the School of Blue Jade, they thought that there wouldn’t be any repercussions if they took advantage of this place; unlike the other territories, where they couldn’t be too excessive out of courtesy to their fellow disciples.
In the meantime, Miao Yi had been going out to sea for long periods of time during his training; not concerning himself with most trivial affairs. So Yan Xiu had to spend quite a lot of effort to deal with those people.
Even now after Miao Yi’s return, they still met those hooligans looking to take advantage of them on two separate occasions. After Miao Yi asked what was behind this matter and understood the situation, he simply had Yan Xiu kick them out without another word.
‘So what if you’re from Mount Calming Sea? If you want to take something, have Qin Weiwei take it from me herself!’
‘So what if you are from South Edict Manor? I have already been demoted to a Horse Deputy. If you have the ability, have Yang Qing terminate my Immortal Record then.’
This time, it was even more absurd. To dare claim that they were from Suppressing Second Hall….
Soon after, Yan Xiu finished gathering ten men, and rode to the mountain gates. Each of them held a weapon in their hand, and acted very hostile to their visitors.
Outside the mountain gates, Huo Lingxiao and Wu Menglan shared a glance. They could see that something wasn’t right with the situation. No one would welcome guests in this manner.
At the forefront of the pack, Yan Xiu aimed his broad axe at them and roared, "Where are you impudent fellows from? Why did you come to my East Arrival Cave?"
Wu Menglan smiled, and watched Huo Lingxiao intently.
Huo Lingxiao creased his brows, "Who are you?"
"I am the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave!" Yan Xiu clearly replied.
"Yan Xiu?" Huo Lingxiao wasn’t at all familiar with this name, but he wasn’t fazed in the least and asked, "Is Miao Yi here in East Arrival Cave?"
Yan Xiu glared at him, "Who are you? Why do you act so suspicious, and not state your name?"
After becoming Cave Master for a time, Yan Xiu was beginning to carry an imposing aura.
Huo Lingxiao slowly lowered his eyes and said, "You still don’t have the qualifications to know my name. Go and tell Miao Yi that his sworn brother is here. He will know who I am."
Wu Menglan immediately stifled a laugh.
‘Miao Yi’s sworn brother?’ Yan Xiu was taken aback, but no longer dared to carelessly provoke the other party. He quickly had someone rush over to report.
Soon enough, Qian’Er entered the silent quarters once again, and said, "Master. The visitor says that he is your sworn brother."
"Well, I am his sworn grandfather." Miao Yi scoffed. "First, he impersonated someone from Suppressing Second Hall. Now, he has become my sworn brother. I have never sworn an oath of brotherhood with anyone before. Those bastards are really pushing their luck. Have Yan Xiu seize them and bring them to me!"
The person that received the order hurriedly returned to the mountain gates, and cupped his fists towards Yan Xiu, "Cave Master. The Horse Deputy said that he has never sworn an oath with anyone before, and commands you to immediately capture these people and bring them to him!"
When Huo Lingxiao heard this, his mouth was instantly agape.
"FuFu! AHAHA… HAHAHAHA..." On the other hand, Wu Menglan couldn’t hold it in anymore. When she saw Huo Lingxiao getting embarrassed so, she sat on her dragon steed and laughed her heart out. She was laughing so hard, she was clutching her stomach—her belly almost cramped up from laughing too much.
At the same time, this proved one thing—that the Cave Master was actually at the behest of the Horse Deputy of this East Arrival Cave.
As soon as Yan Xiu gave the signal, the men behind him quickly moved out and surrounded the two visitors, all the while keeping a watchful gaze on them.
"Will you two obediently dismount, and let us capture you? Or do you want us to do this the hard way instead?" Yan Xiu asked in an icy tone.
Huo Lingxiao finally understood. That cheapskate brother of this never held their swearing an oath of brotherhood to heart at all, just as he expected.