Yan Beihong truly couldn’t remember where he had seen Miao Yi before—at least, not the Miao Yi before him right now. However, he felt like he knew Miao Yi’s face from somewhere. What’s more, Miao Yi was calling him ‘Big Brother Yan’, further proving that they were old acquaintances.
‘Who exactly is this person?’ Yan Beihong thought to himself. Raising his hand, he motioned to his subordinates behind him that there wasn’t any danger, so they didn’t need to be on edge. Then, he slowly rode his dragon steed forward.
Miao Yi chuckled, and turned back to tell the party behind him to wait. Then, he brought Charcoal charging past the mountain gate.
Seeing the Mountain Chieftain giving some sort of a response from his behaviour, the gatekeeper wasn’t sure if he should stop Miao Yi or not. In the end, he simply watched as Miao Yi charged in.
Finally, the two came face to face on their steeds. Seeing the confused expression on Yan Beihong’s face, Miao Yi couldn’t help laughing, "Big Brother Yan. Do you still remember this Little Brother?"
"Uh…" Yan Beihong was still a little hesitant. He slowly circled around Miao Yi on his steed, and kept examining the smiling Miao Yi. Finally, he came to a stop and asked, "May I ask who this honoured individual is?"
"It seems that a man of Big Brother Yan’s station is apt to be forgetful," said Miao Yi with a smile. "Do you still remember the Boundless Secular World?"
"Huh—" Yan Beihong jumped back in surprise, his eyes widening. Suddenly pointing at Miao Yi, he blurted out, "You’re Miao Yi?"
Once his memory was jogged, everything immediately came to him. In his mind, the face of that youngster finally meshed together with the person before him.
"HAHA!" Miao Yi was laughing as he jumped off his dragon steed. Cupping his fists, he formally gave his greetings, "Miao Yi respectfully greets Big Brother Yan. Has Big Brother Yan been well all these years?"
Yan Beihong quickly jumped off his dragon steed, excitedly coming up to Miao Yi and giving him a hug, spinning him a full circle before putting him down. Lightly punching Miao Yi’s chest, he ribbed, "You’re seriously one lucky kid. I can’t believe you’re still alive!"
Yan Beihong couldn’t deny that one of the reasons he could be as successful as he was today, was because Miao Yi had risked his life at a critical moment to ambush that expert back then. Otherwise, he would have died in the Boundless Secular World.
Similarly, if Miao Yi didn’t have Yan Beihong’s aid, he would have long since perished in the Boundless Secular World—much less being able to retrieve the immortal herb and later on sending his Little Brother and Little Sister on the path of cultivation. Even after that, when Head Guard Huang was searching for him to exact his vengeance, it was Yan Beihong who helped him escape the Ancient City of Changfeng.
In a manner of speaking, the two of them shared a relationship forged from the intertwining of their lives. It was only possible for them to be as successful as they were today, precisely because they each received the other person’s aid.
However, Yan Beihong figured that back when Miao Yi gave away his chance to join an immortal school, Miao Yi would only be able to live out the rest of his life as mere mortal. It was already questionable whether or not Miao Yi could escape his pursuers; and even if he did manage to escape, after so many years had passed, he was sure to have aged. Yang Beihong never expected that he would become the fine young man before him now.
Clearly, the reckless kid all those years ago had also become a cultivator, and a rather successful one at that, it seemed. Yan Beihong’s gaze swept across to the men outside the mountain gate, recognizing that they were all Miao Yi’s.
It wasn’t as though Yan Beihong never tried to look for Miao Yi after he had found some success. Whenever he thought about the events that transpired in the Boundless Secular World, he couldn’t help but sigh. At the time, after Miao Yi escaped the Ancient City of Changfeng, he had to avoid his pursuers—so all traces of him were gone. Yan Beihong didn’t know where he should begin to look even if he wished to.
When everyone saw the way the two acted, the forces both inside and out all let down their guards.
"Someone! Go and escort our guests inside to rest." Yan Beihong raised his hand and pointed to the men outside the mountain gate, motioning for his men to invite their guests in. Then, he grabbed onto Miao Yi’s arm and dragged him away. "Come! Let us drink to our hearts’ content!"
That straightforward and unreserved attitude of his was the same as always. Miao Yi could still see the silhouette of the former Military Commander Yan who was forced to go on the run after killing his superior officer all those years ago.
Just as the two entered with their arms draped about over each other into the Mount Azure Cloud Mountain Chieftain’s courtyard, they met two beautiful women dressed in red. Needless to say, these were obviously Yan Beihong’s personal handmaidens.
"Hong Xiu. Hong Fu. Come meet my brother." Laughing boisterously as he did so, Yan Beihong pointed to Miao Yi and introduced him, "This is the Miao Yi I’ve always mentioned to the two of you about. My Brother Miao."
The two women had rarely seen the Mountain Chieftain act so friendly with outsiders, much less address them as brothers. They could tell that it wasn’t simply an act for the sake of formality.
They were confused at first, but when they heard that his name was Miao Yi, they instantly understood—realizing that he was the saviour whom the Mountain Chieftain always spoke of, sighing with regret every time that he did so. Their Mountain Chieftain often spoke to them of Miao Yi’s loyalty and righteousness. How he decisively threw away his own future for his younger brother and sister. What’s more, they weren’t even of his own blood. They were left behind by his adoptive parents. This man was greatly admired by their Mountain Chieftain.
The two girls never expected that their guest would turn out to be this person. They were completely taken by surprise, and immediately lowered themselves, "We respectfully greet Lord Miao."
"No, no." Miao Yi cupped his fists in response, "I respectfully greet Elder Auntie and Little Auntie."
"I’ve always hated people who act on shallow formality. We’re all friends here. Why act so distant? Just call them Hong Xiu and Hong Fu." Yan Beihong swept his arm out, "Prepare us some food and wine. I will drink my fill with my Little Brother here!"
As he himself said, he had always despised those who put on airs. Miao Yi thought back to how he had cast him aside because of the mysterious melody of a Qin back in the Boundless Secular World. Then when he realized that it was a misunderstanding, Big Brother Yan immediately came to his aid once more.
If it weren’t for that personality of his, why would someone like him—already the Military Commander of a city at the time—ruin his future by killing his superior officer and be forced on the run? If it were anyone else, he or she would probably try to make a compromise, and not to throw everything away like he did.
"Understood!" Hong Fu quickly left.
Hong Xiu followed behind the two men as they crossed the small bridge over a tiny creek in the courtyard, up a rock garden, and finally into the cool shelter of a pavilion. She offered the two tea as they took their seats.
From his seat in the pavilion within the rock garden, Miao Yi gazed at the surroundings and couldn’t help shaking his head as he chuckled, "After not seeing each other for so many decades, I never expected that Big Brother Yan was already so successful. This Little Brother is truly in awe."
Yan Beihong chuckled, "To have over twenty men accompanying you. I think Little Brother is rather successful yourself. May I know where Little Brother is holding his esteemed position?"
"I wouldn’t call it an esteemed position. I’m working as the Horse Deputy of East Arrival Cave, situated in the domain of the Fifth Earthly Branch’s Traversing Moon Palace."
"Fifth Earthly Branch… Horse Deputy?" Yan Beihong was taken aback, "Little Brother. Surely there’s something you’re not telling me? How can a mere Horse Deputy have so many men accompanying you over tens of thousands miles just to come here?"
Miao Yi laughed dryly, "I was originally the East Arrival Cave Master, but I upset the Manor Head and was demoted to Horse Deputy. To tell Big Brother Yan the truth, the current East Arrival Cave is still under my control."
"So many men in a mere Cave?" Curious, Yan Beihong asked, "How many followers does your East Arrival Cave have?"
He was no amateur. He knew that unless the number of followers belonging to East Arrival Cave far surpassed the average Cave, it wouldn’t be able to support so many men with its annual earnings.
"Big Brother Yan is mistaken. The men accompanying me are bodyguards I employed from the School of Blue Jade. They’re not my Cave’s forces."
"I see. For a Cave Master to be able to borrow so many men, is hardly a simple matter either."
As they were speaking, Hong Fu brought in a group of handmaidens with wine and several platters of food.
Once the others retreated, both of Yan Beihong’s handmaidens stood behind either of the two and served them.
Once the host himself offered up a toast, Yan Beihong curiously asked , "Little Brother. When you escaped the Ancient City of Changfeng all those years ago, I thought it would be impossible for you to transcend the mortal realm. How did you manage to become a cultivator all of a sudden?"
"I was just lucky. On the second day after escaping the Ancient City of Changfeng, I came across a hermit who guided me on the path of cultivation—which is how I ended up where I am today." Looking back, Miao Yi couldn’t help sighing at the unpredictable nature of fate. Waving his hand, he said, "I am not worth mentioning. I am more curious about how Big Brother Yan became a Mountain Chieftain in just several decades. It is truly astonishing. Please enlighten me."
To mortals, several decades was akin to their entire lives, but to cultivators, it was but a passing moment.
Yan Beihong chuckled and waggled his hands.
That year, after he separated from Miao Yi in the Boundless Secular World, he accidentally picked something up on the way back. At the time, he didn’t think it was anything useful. It was only after he became a cultivator did he come to realize its peculiarity, and slowly unearthed the mysteries hidden within it. His achievements now was largely in part due to that particular item.
It was not wise to share such personal information with someone else, so Yan Beihong quickly changed the subject, "I just entered Mount Azure Cloud not too long ago. How did Little Brother find this place?"
Noticing that the other party didn’t wish to disclose any more, it wouldn’t be nice to probe further. Miao Yi simply replied, "I only found out after asking the Glorious Cloud Sect."
"Oh! You went to the Glorious Cloud Sect…" Yan Beihong thought for a moment. Then a thought crossed his mind, and he whispered "Are you here to ask about your sister?"
Miao Yi didn’t expect that he still remembered. He cupped his fists and asked, "Big Brother Yan. I have indeed come to look for my Little Sister, but the Glorious Cloud Sect told me that the person ‘Lu Xuexin’ doesn’t exist. I am quite confused by this. Big Brother Yan entered the sect with my Little Sister that year, so I thought you might know of the details behind this mystery."
"I always kept in mind the matter Little Brother entrusted to me. That year, after I bade you farewell and joined the Glorious Cloud Sect, I went to look into this matter. I discovered that only a few dozen people had joined the Glorious Cloud Sect including myself, and all of them were men. There wasn’t a single woman. Your sister was not among the new recruits."
"That’s impossible!" Miao Yi exclaimed, "I was the one who personally sent her off at the gates. I’m not mistaken."
"Wait until I’ve finished speaking, Little Brother." Raising his hand, Yan Beihong urged Miao Yi to calm himself. "Upon my return to the Glorious Cloud Sect, I overheard the sect’s cultivators discussing a certain matter, and discovered that the Glorious Cloud Sect did indeed recruit a female disciple at the time. When she was tested, they found out that she actually possessed the ‘Phoenix form’. Alas, before they could get her name, she was taken away by the Realm Beyond Heaven’s Fairy Hong Chen, who had coincidentally stopped by. Now I hear news that the girl who was taken away has become the direct disciple of the Celestial Sage Mu Fanjun, and is the current ‘Fairy Yue Yao’ that we all know."
Miao Yi’s jaw dropped open in disbelief. Previously in the School of Blue Jade, he had heard Hong Changhai mention the Fairy Yue Yao. At the time, it was nothing but a passing thought—‘Could Little Sister really be the Fairy Yue Yao?’
Immediately, Hong Xiu and Hong Fu were staring at him and thinking to themselves, ‘If Fairy Yue Yao is truly his younger sister, then his future will definitely be bright.’
Miao Yi abruptly strode over. Seating himself beside Yan Beihong, he held his arm and asked, "Are you sure of this, Big Brother Yan?"
"How can I verify such a matter so easily? The Realm Beyond Heaven is beyond the reaches of men like you and I. How would I find the strength to go and verify it? That being said, since I dared tell you this, I naturally have reliable evidence."
Miao Yi anxiously asked, "What proof is there?"
Yan Beihong patted the back of his arm and explained, "The fact that I saw with my own two eyes, that every person who joined Glorious Cloud Sect that year were male, is proof enough! Think about it, Little Brother. Of all the people who dared to risk their lives and enter the Boundless Secular World, how many could be women—much less a young girl? How can a normal young girl manage to retrieve an immortal herb from the Boundless Secular World? Other than the younger sister that Little Brother personally brought in, there probably isn’t another young girl who could enter the Glorious Cloud Sect with an immortal herb in hand."
The idea shook Miao Yi’s mind and threw it into disarray. ‘Could that snot-nosed crybaby Little Sister of mine really be THE Fairy Yue Yao whom everyone was extolling? How is this possible? But Yan Beihong’s words do have a point…..’
Chapter 252 - Little Sister is Yue Yao?