The pavillion was quiet. Miao Yi remained speechless, completely at a loss for words.
Before, he had been searching for his little sister. Now that he was almost certain that Fairy Yue Yao was his little sister, he scarcely knew what to do at that moment.
It seemed his little sister was living a much better life than he had, or one could say, one a hundred thousand times better than he was. She didn’t need his guidance anymore. The only concern that he had if he managed to find her, was who would be looking after who instead…
Yan Beihong held his cup and quietly sipped his wine, continuing to observe Miao Yi’s expression with from the corner of his eyes.
Noticing that Miao Yi didn’t respond after a long while, Yan Beihong put down his wine and said, "Actually, I’ve been trying to let you know since I discovered that your sister was taken away by Fairy Hong Chen. Who knew, maybe I could have basked in your limelight too. But I didn’t know where you were at that time."
There was truth in what he said. Miao Yi’s little sister had gone to the Realm Beyond Heaven, and being affiliated to them was naturally a good thing. It also why he had been keeping this information in mind until now.
Miao Yi regained his composure and forced a smile, "Big Brother Yan. You’re too thoughtful."
Yan Beihong asked, "With Fairy Yue Yao backing you, you can expect to soar to the top in no time. When are you going to go look for your little sister?"
Miao Yi fell silent once more. After a long moment, he lifted his head and slowly said, "I hope Big Brother Yan will never speak of this matter to anyone."
Miao Yi’s words caught Yan Beihong by surprise. After blinking for a few times, he responded with a ‘mm’ reply while nodding his head.
Even though it hadn't been long since Miao Yi arrived, he didn’t wish to linger any longer. Simply asking Yan Beihong to visit him in East Arrival Cave whenever he had time—Miao Yi left his wine unfinished and hastily asked to take his leave. He seemed to be avoiding the discerning gaze of Yan Beihong.
Yan Beihong personally escorted Miao Yi towards the mountain gates. When he saw Miao Yi and his troops were far from the gates, he went back inside the pavillion and continued savoring his wine.
Beside him, Hong Xiu quickly refilled his cup while asking, "Mountain Chieftain. Master Miao left rather quickly. Is he that impatient to meet with Fairy Yue Yao?"
Yan Beihong shook his head, "He’s most likely going to confirm whether Fairy Yue Yao is his little sister or not first. If it is, I fear he might never meet with her."
"Oh!" Hong Xiu was surprised and continued asking, "Why is that?"
"Have you never heard of the saying about poor relatives?" Yan Beihong scoffed. "He came all the way here just to find his little sister, and you can tell that he’s given a lot of thought into this. However, if Fairy Yue Yao had wanted to find her brother, it would have been much easier because she had all the resources to search compared to him. Miao Yi’s identity is in the register, so his name would have popped up if she wished to investigate, and the siblings would have met sooner. But as you know, poor relatives will always be resented. Miao Yi is a man who is usually honest with his feelings, but now he doesn’t have enough courage to confirm whether Fairy Yue Yao is truly his little sister."
Hong Xiu and Hong Fu exchanged a glance before realization dawned on them. Miao Yi was afraid. Once he managed to confirm the truth, they feared he would be even more disappointed...
Following after Miao Yi as he hurriedly left Mount Azure Cloud, Luo Shuangfei and the others didn’t know what happened. Miao Yi only mentioned going back, and didn’t utter another word. No one could pry another word from him, not even when Luo Shuangfei intentionally provoked him.
Once when Luo Shuangfei misspoke while asking about Lu Xuexin again, Miao Yi immensely became incensed. He almost acted on it, and it shocked Luo Shuangfei to no end.
Miao Yi was never that furious when he tried to kill Luo Shuangfei, so this really had Luo Shuangfei shocked. He shut his mouth, a sense of helplessness flashing across his gaze. He became quite sulky and stopped talking to Miao Yi entirely.
All in all, everyone had a feeling that Miao Yi wanted to leave this place as soon as possible, as though he had never stepped foot into this area before.
This made everyone speechless. 'He came all the way from such a distance, and didn’t seem to have accomplished anything. He went home just like that. Did he really have nothing else to do…'
It took another three months on their journey before they reached the capital of the Fifth Earthly Branch.
The weather here was clearly different from South Edict Manor. It was already winter, yet spring flowers were already in bloom.
The entire capital was separated by mountains, waters, and flatlands. The entire area was bound by mountains and lakes. Even before stepping into the city, they could already sense the prosperity of this place from the peddlers and porters strolling along the path. With a million people gathering in one place, prosperity was inevitable.
In order to not disturb the lives of civilians, a path was specifically made only for the cultivators and dragon steeds to use. As Miao Yi and his troops galloped through over a massive bridge, the boats underneath the bridge caught Miao Yi's eye.
Gazing over the scenery as a whole, the entire landscape of the mountain river curving along the settlements and stores was like a scene from a painting. The streets were occupied with people bustling about and endless streams of horses and carriages. The whole area seemed boundless, giving his mind a sense of ease. Miao Yi couldn't help but sighed, "This place is indeed great, but the whole area is surrounded by water. The followers might be inconvenient by this when they come and go. Why did they choose this place to build the city?"
Luo Shuangfei still seemed to be sulking, but his lips twitched as if mocking Miao Yi’s ignorance.
As it wasn't Tian Qingfeng’s first time to the capital city, he explained to Miao Yi, "The daily lives of the followers cannot be whole without water. With a million of followers living together, they require a large amount of water to live. I don't think it's possible to choose a place without a source of water to build a city upon. Someone joked about this before that the most commonly used transport is the boat and the most commonly trodden area is the bridge, because there are bridges everywhere."
"I see!" Miao Yi nodded. Then continued, "I heard the Overlord of the Fifth Earthly Branch lives within the city. Do you know where it is?"
"Sir. Please look!" Tian Qingfeng indicated a majestic mountain and continued, "The Overlord lives on that mountain. If you are interested, we can go stay there for a few days."
Miao Yi thought he had misheard and asked, "Are you joking? We can stay where the Overlord resides?"
Tian Qingfeng chuckled, "You're mistaken, Sir. The population in the capital is too numerous, so there isn't a lot of space to accommodate a lot of them, which is why the mountain that the Overlord stays in has more of a purpose. However, no one can really disturbs the Overlord as the upper half of the mountain is restricted. The lower half has been taken by the Celestial Nation Chamber of Commerce to do businesses. Cultivators going to the capital are allowed to stay, but the fee for that is a quite high. I heard that you need quite a substantial amount of Crystal Coins to stay a night, but with that, you will have complete safety while staying in there. Normally, no one will dare cause a ruckus in the Overlord’s territory. I can’t guarantee the same for the other areas."
"Oh!" Miao Yi was immediately interested. "Let's go! We check out the situation there. If all is well, we might even be able to become neighbors with the Overlord."
Hearing that, Luo Shuangfei pursed his lips as if displeased with the idea. However, as he peered at the unusually bustling atmosphere of the place, his eyes brightened. One could tell that he was a person who loved a lively atmosphere.
On their way towards the great mountain, they could see a few caverns among the rows of smaller hills. At times, people could be seen entering and leaving the caverns. Miao Yi pointed at them and asked, "What are those used for?"
"Cultivators can stay there too. Normally, Loose Cultivators are the ones occupying these caverns. While payment is still needed to stay there, the advantage is that it’s certainly much cheaper."
"You need to pay to stay in these type of caverns?"
"Every inch of the capital costs money. I’m afraid it's not possible to find somewhere to stay without paying."
"Is there not an inn in the capital?"
"Most inns are too noisy, and not an ideal place to cultivate. Loose Cultivators can't afford the best inns either. Well, you know how it is for Loose Cultivators."
Miao Yi nodded in agreement. He knew that all too well. Loose Cultivators were often more like normal civilians at times.
Normal civilians had to offer their power of will everyday for protection. As the cultivators’ main source for the power of will, they will receive greater protection. If those Loose Cultivators were to intervene on the lives of these normal civilians with their transcendence energy, ordinary followers would lose to them. This was the reason why officials forbade Loose Cultivators from competing with normal civilians, so that their lives would not be disturbed.
Much like other sects, no one could ever intervene during an ongoing business operation. They would have to find a representative for these normal civilians possessing good backgrounds. Anything would be better than the background of the School of Blue Jade that has been trying to expand inside the South Edict Manor. This was the same concept, so to speak.
As such, most Loose Cultivators may not be able to earn as much as normal civilians do. Normal civilians would have legal income, while Loose Cultivators had none; so it was understandable why they could not afford to live in good inns. Of course, Loose Cultivators could use their transcendence energy to struggle for it, but they must be prepared to bear the consequences of their actions.
However, Miao Yi was curious. He knew that Loose Cultivators were always at a disadvantage, yet he had never seen them gathering in East Arrival City as a group. Why were there so many in this place?
He couldn't help asking Tian Qingfeng about it. "If they have to pay to live inside the caverns while having such a difficult life, why are they still here instead of leaving this place? They will have better lives even if they randomly search a remote forest to live in. At least they don't have to spend their money like this. Don’t most Loose Cultivators go to the Flowing Clouds Dune Sea to find a living?"
"You must be joking, Sir. Flowing Clouds Dune Sea is a dangerous place, and I'm talking from the perspective of an individual's power. People from that place will do anything to win with power and violence because there are no rules. Those who can't defend themselves will not last long. However, it's different here. At least this place is peaceful. They can depend on the Celestial Nation Chamber of Commerce for something to do whenever those people need someone to deliver goods. Most importantly, the capital can provide more opportunities than any other places. If they can meet a nobleman and build a good relationship with them by getting good commendations, they could easily become an official. This is a common occurrence, and this is the real reason why Loose Cultivators gather to live in this place."
"I see!" Miao Yi nodded. He just arrived, and yet his views had already broadened.
As they continued to talk, there was an middle-aged woman standing out on the side of the mountain cave. Charming and retaining a graceful manner, she frequently glanced left and right. She spotted a group of dragon steeds approaching from below who were pointing around as they moved forth at a slow pace. With one glance, she could tell they were newcomers.
The middle-aged woman suddenly lit up when she saw them. She immediately arranged her hair and pulled her collar low to reveal half of her perky bosoms before rushing towards them and stopping in their path.
Miao Yi and the others were caught by surprise. They halted their mounts, feeling a little bewildered with the current situation.
That middle-aged woman greeted them with a gesture before asking, "This must be your first time to the city. Do you need a guide?"
Tian Qingfeng waved his hand and said, "There is no need. Step aside."
Meanwhile, the middle-aged woman’s gaze had fallen onto the six storage rings on Miao Yi’s fingers. Her eyes lit up. Ignoring Tian Qingfeng’s words, she intentionally revealed a bit more of her already half-exposed bosom and said, "That gentleman over here. I'm very familiar with the best places to go have fun and eat in the capital. I can give everyone a free tour. I guarantee you will have the time of your life."
Her chest was quite a sight, and with her standing in front of them in an extremely revealing attire, it was difficult for Miao Yi and the others not to look and steal a few glances at her.
And in the midst of that, Luo Shuangfei had been keeping quiet all the while, then decided to coldly glare at Miao Yi and speak out, "Sir. where are you looking at? Never seen a woman before!?"