As soon as he was finished talking, Wu Menglan immediately diverted the topic. She narrowed her eyes at him and mocked, "It seems that some people are still very interested in matters that involve playing up to people of power and influence. Hehe, I guess some people are just cheap!"
Huo Lingxiao was at a loss for words. His mouth quivered violently as he narrowed his eyes and said, "We were talking about matters involving the Exquisite Refinement Sect, yet you still found some way of changing the topic to me. I advise you not to create trouble, when there is none to be had."
"Was I talking about you in particular? Could it be that you feel guilty from all your misdeeds, and thus feel like you could relate to it?" mocked Wu Menglan.
‘Could these two be sworn enemies? Then why did they come here? If you two want to argue and fight, don’t do it at my place!’
Miao Yi grit his teeth and hastily interrupted their argument; bringing their focus back on the topic, he said, "Then which talented disciple of the Exquisite Refinement Sect won the hand of the Sect Master’s daughter?"
Huo Lingxiao shut his mouth, otherwise he himself would end up being unhappy. Since it was in front of outsiders, he had to endure it!
Wu Menglan shot a glance at him. After gaining the upper hand, the tension on her brows relaxed and she was slightly happier. She replied, "At the time of the Artifact Refining Competition, all of Exquisite Refinement Sect’s disciples showcased their individual skills, but in the end, it was the Sect Master’s own two personal disciples that had won everyone’s acknowledgment. Their skills exceeded that of their fellow disciples by far, with both Senior and Junior Brothers standing at the peak in the final battle. Sir Zi Yang was the Junior Brother of the two. However, between both Senior and Junior Brothers, one was remarkably handsome and elegant; whereas the other was completely unappealing. Sir Zi Yang was evidently the latter."
Miao Yi’s expression twitched. He didn’t even need to think too deeply. Yao Ruoxian was indeed unappealing in appearance, that much was true. Could the two of them really be the same person?
Qian’Er and Xue’Er couldn’t refrain from secretly sharing a glance as well. They probably had the same idea as Miao Yi.
"Then did Sir Zi Yang lose to his Senior Brother in the end?" Miao Yi couldn’t help asking. If Yao Ruoxian was really that Sir Zi Yang, then his suspicions should be correct. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have wandered to his side, and just hide in East Arrival Cave.
Wu Menglan nodded and said, "Precisely so! In the final match, both Senior and Junior Brothers used every ounce of their ability to refine their respective transcendent artifacts, and had them appraised by the elders of the sect. In the end, the Sect Master publicly announced the more attractive Senior Brother as the victor. At the same time, he announced that he would betroth his daughter to him, and established the Senior Brother as the succeeding Sect Master of the Exquisite Refinement Sect on the spot! However, an accident suddenly occured at this time…," Wu Menglan sighed, shaking her head with a sympathetic expression.
‘Why do you have to sigh now? Stop being such a tease.’ Miao Yi anxiously asked, "What accident?"
"Rumors says that both Senior and Junior Brothers competing in the final match fancied the Sect Master’s daughter. How could Sir Zi Yang stand by and watch as the woman he loved married another man? He could not accept his defeat. He charged out from the crowd, and accused the Sect Master, as well as the elders, of being biased in their judgement. Sir Zi Yang shouted that he was dissatisfied! He ran to the statue of the founding ancestor and screamed for justice before it!"
Miao Yi instantly sucked in a breath of cold air. It was easy to imagine the consequences of going against the Sect Master of such a large sect. "Didn’t he get into trouble for going against the Sect Master so publicly?"
Wu Menglan sighed, "How unfortunate that he was a hopeless romantic! He obviously did get into trouble. The Sect Master was furious and asked where the injustice he claimed to be was. Sir Zi Yang rebutted and said that the reason he lost wasn’t because the transcendent artifact he refined was inferior to his Senior Brother’s, but because he was not as handsome as his Senior Brother. He then ran straight to the Sect Master’s daughter and grabbed her, wanting to take her far away; away from that place of injustice and unfaithfulness!"
Astonished, Miao Yi asked, "Did the Sect Master’s daughter follow him then?"
Wu Menglan shook her head, "The Sect Master’s daughter rejected him. Furthermore, she told Sir Zi Yang in front of everyone, ‘Senior Brother, it is your loss!’. It’s easy to imagine how Sir Zi Yang must have felt at that moment. Not only did he fail to win the fair lady’s hand, he was severely beaten on the spot for his brashness. He would have lost his life too, but fortunately the Senior Brother that he competed with didn’t hold it against him, and stood out to protect him. Only then was he able to keep his life. However, the Sect Master decided to publicly denounced him as a traitorous pupil—immediately banishing him from the Exquisite Refinement Sect! While Sir Zi Yang was being dragged out of the Exquisite Refinement Sect, he shouted that he was still dissatisfied. He promised to one day create a peerless transcendent artifact and trample over the Exquisite Refinement Sect, clearing away the shame he suffered on that day!"
Miao Yi sighed and turned to look at Qian’Er and Xue’Er. Both of them felt the same way he did. He asked again, "Then did Sir Zi Yang manage to clear away the shame he suffered after that?"
"That was easier said than done. The Exquisite Refinement Sect had the support of the Boundless Realm. Without the Exquisite Refinement Sect providing cultivation resources to support him, he was reduced to a Loose Cultivator. At that point, it would be difficult to even obtain materials for refining artifacts. How could he have the chance to clear away his shame then?"
"Then where is he now?"
"Nobody knows. Isn’t it shameful enough for someone like him who already had a bad reputation? Apparently, he would do his best to keep a low profile. I heard that he was often seen coming in and out of Flowing Clouds Dune Sea, but it seems that his ventures weren’t very successful. I don’t know if that news is credible or not, nor am I aware of his exact whereabouts."
Miao Yi quietly nodded. With this, it seemed like there was a high chance that the Yao Ruoxian hiding in East Arrival Cave, was the same person as that Sir Zi Yang. No wonder he came up with a name as ludicrous as ‘Yao Ruoxian’. He wouldn’t reveal his true name even if it killed him. Moreover, he didn’t want to meet outsiders too much because he was afraid of being embarrassed.
"Has Big Brother and Sister Meng ever met Sir Zi Yang before?" probed Miao Yi.
He was just asking in passing. He wouldn’t go so far as to drag the two of them over to prove Yao Ruoxian’s identity. If he actually pissed Yao Ruoxian off by embarrassing him, even if he wasn’t smashed to bits with his mace, he would probably be in for a whole lot of pain.
The two of them shook their heads, implying that they have never seen him before. Huo Lingxiao continued to add, "There aren’t many who have seen him ever since he was exiled from the Exquisite Refinement Sect, I’m afraid."
Miao Yi nodded. He didn’t ask any more questions. Raising his cup, he said, "Cheers, Big Brother. Sister Meng."
The two of them followed suit.
At this moment, Yan Xiu came in again. He walked across the pavilion over to Miao Yi’s side and softly whispered by his ear, "Men from Mount Calming Sea have arrived."
"So what if they did? What does that have to do with a Horse Deputy like myself? You, the Cave Master, should be plenty enough to deal with them." Miao Yi couldn’t be bothered to deal with them.
Huo Lingxiao and Wu Menglan felt that his words were quite comical. The hierarchy in this East Arrival Cave was completely out of whack.
Yan Xiu dropped a hint, "They’ve come to patrol again."
Miao Yi understood. These bunch of bastards were coming to take advantage of them again. He raised his brows and asked, "How many of them are there? Do they have any documents from Mount Calming Sea?"
"There are only two of them. They only stated their identities, and said that they have received verbal orders to come here."
"So it means that they don’t then?" Miao Yi scoffed, "It would not do us well to offend those that the higher-ups ordered to come here. Bring them over and let them patrol as they wish. If they ask for any benefits…., seize them immediately and bring them over to me. I will hand it to them myself! Fucking bastards. Do they think my East Arrival Cave is some brothel or whorehouse? Those with dicks all keep wanting to come for a round or two!"
The two Hall Masters chuckled lightly at the analogy. They felt that it was quite a vivid description indeed.
The two of them roughly had a gist of what was going on. In truth, they encountered these kinds of situations as well. Those from the likes of Mount Calming Sea, or South Edict Manor definitely wouldn’t be so bold as to try and take advantage of them. However, those monsters and freaks under the more superior Traversing Moon Palace, or the Fifth Earthly Branch’s Overlord would.
Yan Xiu acknowledged his order and left. With Miao Yi’s words backing him up, he had the confidence to deal with the situation. Otherwise, he would not have the courage to offend Mount Calming Sea.
The two Hall Masters shared a glance. From their own experience in handling these situations, they know that these people were not so easy to brush off. They wanted to see how Miao Yi was going to deal with it.
Truthfully, the two of them did not have many common topics to share with Miao Yi, and were about to take their leave. However, now they were no longer in any hurry to leave. They wanted to watch how the events would unfold.
Raising her cup for a drink, Wu Menglan suddenly asked, "Brother Miao. When I wandered over to Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor, I coincidentally heard the cultivators there discussing a certain matter. They said that you would send a list of recompense over to their Mount Returning Loyalty every year. Is this true?"
Huo Lingxiao shot a glance over from the corner of his eyes. He also wanted to hear how Miao Yi was going to explain this matter.
Miao Yi was taken aback. With a surprised expression, he said, "There was something like this? How is it that I have never heard of it before? If there really was such an incident, then it should be the arrangement of our Cave Master. I am just a Horse Deputy. I am only concerned with feeding and caring for the steeds, and nothing more."
He simply feigned ignorance and pushed everything onto Yan Xiu.
Wu Menglan smiled, "Brother Miao. You are obviously lying. Your Great Cave Master is clearly subservient to you. Without your approval, would he dare do something like that concerning the two Halls?"
"Ahem!" Miao Yi coughed dryly. Since it was already so obvious, he wouldn’t try to hide it any longer, and laughed dryly, "The two of you might not know this, but over ten years ago, Mount Returning Loyalty ambushed my East Arrival Cave in the night. They burned, pillaged, and did all manner of despicable deeds: stealing from my East Arrival Cave, killing my men, and even destroyed my Cave manor. It wouldn’t be too much for me to send them a list of recompense, and ask them for some reimbursement, is it?
Huo Lingxiao was indifferent as he responded, "However, I heard that at the time, the Hall Master already went to Suppressing Third Hall to ask for compensation. Isn’t it inappropriate for you to ask for another compensation then?"
Miao Yi exclaimed once more, "Is this true? Has the Hall Master already claimed the compensation? Then why didn’t he inform my East Arrival Cave? Big Brother, the Hall Master isn’t someone who would not sympathize with his subordinates. If he had claimed the compensation, then he would surely use it to make up for my East Arrival Cave’s losses. Therefore, it’s best that you do not take such words seriously in the future. Otherwise, it would sully the Hall Master’s good name, wouldn’t you say?"
Huo Lingxiao was left speechless by these words. ‘Why should an honorable Hall Master like myself go out of his way to inform your little East Arrival Cave after making a decision?’ However, it was true that he had claimed all the compensated items, while his subordinates were the ones that died….
Seeing how a mere Horse Deputy had shut him up, Wu Menglan smiled and happily said, "Brother Miao is right. Huo Lingxiao isn’t a good person to begin with. However, Brother Miao. Aren’t you afraid that Suppressing Third Hall would use this to complain to Suppressing Second Hall?"
Puzzled, Miao Yi asked, "What is there to complain about? My East Arrival Cave did not pester nor make trouble for them. We would just politely send over the list of recompense every year. When they chose to ignore it, we did not even utter a single word of complaint. So what fault does my East Arrival Cave have then?"
This was also the part that confused Wu Menglan. She couldn’t help but furrow her brows and ask, "Brother Miao. Since they won’t give any compensation, why bother sending them a list every year? What are you trying to achieve by doing this?"
‘Are you kidding? Are we that close? Could I tell you everything?’ Miao Yi thought to himself. He abruptly began speaking in hushed tones, "Truth be told, it is nothing more than a matter of shame—I can’t lose face because of this. Think about it, I was the one that suffered heavy losses, yet I didn’t have the courage to seek revenge from the other party. As the Cave Master at the time, how could I endure such a disgrace? Thus, I had to put up appearances for the sake of my subordinates."
"Is that so?" said Wu Menglan rather doubtfully.
"Sister Meng. Why is a Loose Cultivator like yourself so concerned about this? Do you wish to join my East Arrival Cave?" quipped Miao Yi.
Just then, the sound of dragon steeds galloping could be heard from outside. The sound of crashing steel soon rang out. They turned their head in the direction of the commotion, and listened attentively.
Not long after, the commotion dissipated, and the thunderous hoofbeats of dragon steeds quickly approached them.