A certain person was still true to his good-for-nothing nature. Along the journey, he would leisurely look around, occasionally whistling or singing some lewd songs.
Miao Yi didn’t know where this bastard learnt them from, but one thing did change; ever since their visit to the brothel, Miao Yi realized that Luo Shuangfei no longer mentioned the purple marten.
Earlier Luo Shuangfei would either keep pestering him to return it, or beat around the bush to ask him to give it back. Ever since the two visited the brothel, Luo Shuangfei didn’t mention the purple marten even once, as though finally resigning himself and was willing to follow Miao Yi back to East Arrival Cave...
Towering above them, verdant mountains stood at varying heights, dotted by lavishly decorated homes.
Over twenty steeds came to a halt in the mountains. Miao Yi heaved a sigh of relief as they gazed towards the horizon.
Since their departure from the School of Blue Jade, over two months had passed. Through wind and rain over the long and arduous journey, they finally reached the Glorious Cloud Sect.
Their journey here wasn’t as dangerous as Miao Yi initially thought. After all, there weren’t many who would dare wreak havoc within the Celestial Nation’s domain. Meeting someone like Luo Shuangfei was a rare case. Even if there were someone with malicious intents, they would normally behave after seeing a party of this size.
All in all, it was still much safer to have brought more men with him on this journey. It could hardly be considered a wasted effort. To Miao Yi, this was a necessary preparation to ward off any mishap. He didn’t have much experience in long journeys, after all.
The Glorious Cloud Sect was just right in front of them. Even gazing at it from afar, its majestic aura wasn’t something the School of Blue Jade could compete with. It wasn’t surprising that it was the number one largest sect within the First Earthly Branch.
‘Is Little Sister cultivating here? I wonder how she’s grown. Will she still be able to recognize me?’
Whenever he thought about how he sent away an orphaned young girl with a steel-heart, Miao Yi couldn’t restrain himself from facing towards the sky. He felt that he had betrayed his foster parents’ spirits since he did not fulfill his duty in looking after them.
‘I wonder how Little Sister is faring in this place. If she’s not faring well, I’ll have to take her away no matter the cost!’
‘Little Sister! Big Brother is here. Big Brother is sorry that it took me so long to find you! But that’s because Big Brother could barely protect myself back then. Now, I have some ability at least!’
Raising his head to gaze at the skies, Miao Yi was a little caught in the moment, his eyes slightly reddening. He already decided that if he were to bring his Little Sister back with him on this journey, he would first place her in the School of Blue Jade. Once he killed Xiong Xiao and eliminated any future threats, he would have his Little Sister returned to his side, and never allow her to endure any hardship ever again!
His feelings on the matter were obvious from the way he rushed over to this place along their whole journey.
Looking about from his seat atop the dragon steed beside Miao Yi, Luo Shuangfei accidentally caught a glimpse of the glossy sheen in Miao Yi’s eyes, and couldn’t help being startled. ‘This ruthless bastard is crying?’
Curious, he asked, "Cave Master. What is the matter?"
"Nothing. Let’s go!" Miao Yi swept his arm and brought his men to a gallop down the slope.
Luo Shuangfei pinched the hairs on his mole. Filled with curiosity, he chased after the rest of the party….
The major sect was true to its fame indeed. With such a large group arriving unannounced at the mountain gate, quite a number of shadows could be seen moving about behind the mountain gate, concealing themselves in the surroundings to prepare against any mishap.
"Who goes there?" The two guardsmen by the mountain gate raised their arms and shouted for them to halt.
Miao Yi raised his arm, and everyone came to a stop. Then, he tossed a jade archive over.
After the two guardsmen received the jade archive and took turns looking through it, they exchanged glances. The other person was actually a Cave Master from the Fifth Earthly Branch. Even if he had journeyed here on his dragon steed without rest, it would probably have taken him a month or two.
One of the guardsmen cupped their fists and asked, "May I know what business Cave Master Miao has with the Glorious Cloud Sect?"
Miao Yi jumped down from Charcoal’s back, stepped forward and cupped his fists, "I’m here to inquire about a certain individual."
The other person asked, "May I know who this person is?"
"Lu Xuexin!" Miao Yi politely replied .
When Miao Yi said this, Luo Shuangfei’s eyes brightened. He coldly snorted as he muttered towards the person beside him, Tian Qingfeng. "You can tell this name is obviously a woman’s as soon as you hear it. I thought he was some kind of respectable gentleman. It turns out he came all this way just to see a woman. He sure is respectable, alright."
Tian Qingfeng turned to face him, not understanding what nonsense he was going on about.
"Lu Xuexin?" The guardsmen exchanged glances. Then one of them asked, "Junior Brother. Have you ever heard of such a person?"
The other person thought for a moment, then shook his head and replied, "I’ve never heard of this person before."
Miao Yi’s heart thumped. One of the guardsmen cupped his fists and said, "Our sect has numerous disciples. We hope it is simply because we are unaware of this person’s existence. I will go and ask for our sect’s record-keeper Deacon, who is in charge of the disciples’ records. I’ll have to trouble Cave Master Miao to wait for a moment."
Contrary to everyone’s expectations, Luo Shuangfei thoughtlessly commented, "What impudence. You don’t even know to invite us inside to have a rest. Ask your Sect Master to get the hell out and speak to us!"
Those words of his were as arrogant as they came—actually demanding the Glorious Cloud Sect Master, whose cultivation was already at the Purple Lotus realm, to personally step out.
As soon as they heard these words, the two guardsmen’s expressions instantly changed—‘Are you trying to challenge us?’ The two parties on both sides of the mountain forest immediately tensed, ready to take up arms.
Miao Yi’s expression twitched. He wondered whether or not this Luo Shuangfei was some ignorant fool. Even if he himself were in the School of Blue Jade, he wouldn’t dare to say such things, much less in this foreign land before a school that was who-knew-how-many-times larger than the School of Blue Jade. Demanding their Sect Master get the hell out—he actually dared to say such things!
"Shut your mouth!" Miao Yi told him off, then turned back to face the guardsmen and politely said, "I hope the two of you won’t hold it against him. He just recovered from a major illness, so his brain isn’t functioning properly yet."
Luo Shuangfei pursed his lips, but he didn’t say anything more. Probably aware that his words were out of line as well.
Meanwhile, Tian Qingfeng and the rest stared at him in disbelief, as though seeing a monster.
Luo Shuangfei glared at Tian Qingfeng, "Why are you looking at me like that? Did anyone forbid me from speaking?"
"Please wait!" One of the disciples on guard duty left with a sweep of his sleeves. His attitude was clearly poorer than before, simply because of Luo Shuangfei’s words.
One must know that the other party was only being polite because of Miao Yi’s status as an official. If Miao Yi’s party really wanted to stir up trouble, they wouldn’t be afraid of a mere Cave Master. Within the First Earthly Branch, the Glorious Cloud Sect had produced many a Cave Master, Mountain Chieftain, and Manor Head. There was even a Hall Master.
Soon, an old man garbed in a robe of coarse woven grass gracefully walked over. The guardsman accompanying him pointed at Miao Yi, then stepped forward and returned the jade archive back to Miao Yi, before introducing the old man, "This is the senior of our school who is in charge of record-keeping—Deacon Liu."
Miao Yi stepped forward and cupped his fists, "Miao Yi respectfully greets Deacon Liu."
Deacon Liu glanced at the men behind him, then cupped his fists, "I respectfully greet Cave Master Miao. I heard that Cave Master Miao has come here to search for someone?"
"Precisely so!" Miao Yi again informed him of the name Lu Xuexin.
"Lu Xuexin?" Deacon Liu thought for a moment, before shaking his head and said, "Our sect doesn’t have a disciple that goes by that name."
Miao Yi was a little anxious, "Deacon Liu. I personally saw her join your esteemed sect. How is it possible that she’s not here?"
Deacon Liu pointed at his own head and smiled, "The names of the tens of thousands of disciples of our sect are all inside this old man’s brain. There are only fifteen people with the surname Lu, and none of them are women. There is no mistaking it. Maybe Cave Master Miao saw wrongly?"
Miao Yi asked him to confirm it again, but the other party was adamant that she wasn’t here. Miao Yi’s heart was instantly chilled at the news.
He didn’t dare probe any further about Lu Xuexin’s status. He once heard that some sects would torment some of their disciples, who had no background, to death. He couldn’t help growing more worried. If this was really so, in order to keep their misdeeds a secret, they might not reveal the victim’s status to him. He immediate probed with another question, "Then may I know if Yan Beihong is in your esteemed school?"
"Yan Beihong?" Deacon Liu said with surprise. Then nodded, "He’s one of the outstanding disciples of our sect."
‘Outstanding disciple?’ Miao Yi was struck with glee. It seemed that Yan Beihong was faring rather well in the Glorious Cloud Sect. At the time, Yan Beihong should have entered the Glorious Cloud Sect along with his Little Sister. Miao Yi had even asked him to take care of his Little Sister, so he should be more aware of how his Little Sister was doing. He quickly cupped his fists and said, "I’m an old friend of Yan Beihong. One of my reasons in coming here is precisely to pay him a visit. May I meet with him?"
"So it turns out you’re Yan Beihong’s friend. However, I’m afraid Cave Master Miao came to the wrong place."
"What do you mean? Isn’t he a disciple of your esteemed sect?"
Deacon Liu chuckled, "Yan Beihong is now working within the Traversing Heavens Palace, as the Mount Azure Cloud Mountain Chieftain of Suppressing Seventh Hall’s Peaceful Heaven Manor. He is charged with overseeing the defense of a domain, so isn’t it true that Cave Master Miao has come to the wrong place then?"
Miao Yi sucked in a breath of cold air as soon as he heard this, "Yan Beihong became a Mountain Chieftain?"
He believed that his own cultivation speed was already at a staggering pace. He didn’t even tell anyone else for fear that he might attract the wrong attention. He didn’t expect that Yan Beihong was already a Mountain Chieftain. He wondered if his cultivation was higher than his as well.
"Exactly!" Deacon Liu nodded, "If Cave Master Miao wishes to find Yan Beihong, I feel you’ll have to spend another two days journey to Mount Azure Cloud."
"Many thanks to Deacon Liu for the information!" After Miao Yi asked for the exact whereabouts, he cupped his fists and bid his farewell.
After mounting his steed, he led his men away posthaste.
No one expected that before Miao Yi could even punished Luo Shuangfei for his impudent words earlier, Luo Shuangfei would approach him and ask, "Cave Master. Who is this Lu Xuexin to make you bear her in your mind so? Is she very pretty?"
"Luo Shuangfei, aren’t you talking a little too much?"
"Why so petty? I’m not going to take her away from you."
Miao Yi was gnashing his teeth in annoyance, wondering if it was the right choice to recruit this fellow, thinking if he should just stab him to death with his spear right now, and be done with him…
Two days later, the party finally reached Mount Azure Cloud as Deacon Liu said they would.
It was different from the Glorious Cloud Sect, which had over tens of thousands of disciples keeping guard over it. Such a number was impossible for Mount Azure Cloud to achieve because they wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Miao Yi was bringing a large party with him, which was an obvious threat to Mount Azure Cloud. Before they could even get close, they already sent the men of Mount Azure Cloud into full alert.
When the cultivator keeping guard by the mountain gate motioned for Miao Yi and his party to halt, Miao Yi could already see around a dozen men assembled behind it, waiting for orders.
"Who goes there?" The gatekeeper shouted.
Miao Yi and his party obviously wouldn’t force their way through. They were not here to attack this place, so they all stopped outside the mountain gate.
Miao Yi didn’t respond to the gatekeeper’s question, and threw his gaze directly at the person-in-charge, standing among the dozens of men gathered behind the mountain gate.
That man donned a long, dark red robe over a burly figure, his hair wasn’t held up with any accessories and was simply draped over his back to sway leisurely in the wind. His gaze was fierce and full of vigor, while his beard remained unchanged from how Miao Yi remembered it. Seated atop his dragon steed, his aura was magnificent, especially with that long dark red robe of his lending him an imposing aura.
Miao Yi could tell from a glance that it was definitely Yan Beihong. However, the previously dejected air was no longer visible on the current Yan Beihong. His aura had changed drastically.
"Who goes there?" The gatekeeper shouted again.
Miao Yi still didn’t respond. He was excited to see the old friend who had shared a life and death encounter with him back then. Waving his hand, he shouted, "Big Brother Yan. Do you still remember this Little Brother?"
As soon as Miao Yi said this, the gatekeeper was startled, turning his head to look behind.
Yan Beihong kept feeling Miao Yi was a familiar face, but he couldn’t quite place where he had seen him before.
He was different from Miao Yi. When they both just knew each other, Yan Beihong’s facial features was already fixed, so his appearance didn’t change much over the years. Hence, Miao Yi could recognize him with a single glance. On the other hand, Miao Yi was still just a youngster back then, so his appearance would obviously have changed a lot once he grew up. It wouldn’t be possible to recognize him with just a single glance.