"Who are you people?" Lord Xing stepped up to Luo Shuangfei, shouting at him while pointing at his nose. "How dare—"
His words caught in his throat before he could finish as a cold piercing glint shot towards him. He suddenly felt a sharp pain from his throat, and blood began spurting out.
Lord Xing was in shock. He didn’t expect that someone would dare make a move on an official from the capital city’s Martial Manor.
The two lackeys behind him were taken aback. By the time they saw the White Lotus Ninth Grade mark on Luo Shuangfei’s forehead, they couldn’t even muster a scream before Luo Shuangfei pulled the spear from Lord Xing’s neck and launched another two piercing strikes at them.
As Miao Yi mentioned before, Luo Shuangfei’s spear art was vicious and extremely cunning. The two couldn’t dodge his strikes that sought their necks like a vile serpent. The sound of tearing flesh could be heard moments later in close succession.
Among the three, Lord Xing had the highest cultivation at White Lotus Fourth Grade; the other two were at White Lotus Third Grade. Against a White Lotus Ninth Grade like Luo Shuangfei, they had no chance at all. Not to mention, the three of them never expected that someone would dare try to kill them in the capital city. With no forewarning whatsoever and with such a short distance between them, they had zero chance of survival when faced with Luo Shuangfei’s vicious and serpentine spear art.
Luo Shuangfei tilted his spear and opened his palm, tucking his spear artifact back into his storage ring.
In just a single confrontation, Lord Xing and his two lackeys had fallen to the ground.
Lin Pingping covered her mouth in shock.
‘The officials of the Martial Manor were killed off just like that?’ Tian Qingfeng and the others beside them looked over in a daze. They just became lookouts and accomplices to a crime. If word of this got out, not only would they be in a great deal of trouble, even the School of Blue Jade wouldn’t get off lightly.
They had no idea what the problem with Luo Shuangfei was. His body was brimming with evilness as he tilted his head, then flashed that big set of yellow teeth of his to smile at Miao Yi.
Miao Yi remained expressionless as he said, "Take the corpses away and dispose of them."
Luo Shuangfei nodded and immediately sucked the three corpses into his storage ring.
Miao Yi beckoned the dumbfounded Tian Qingfeng and others to come over, and asked in a low voice, "The people around us didn’t notice anything, right?"
They shook their head in response. Miao Yi gestured for them to return back to their posts. He no longer had the mood for a tour, and calmly led the group back.
On the way, he asked Lin Pingping about her relationship with the three. She told him that Lord Xing was originally a Loose Cultivator like herself. However, he somehow eventually managed to curry favor with the Martial Manor Lord Lan Hou, who was a Purple Lotus Realm expert.
A Cave Master like Miao Yi belonged to the lowest possible rank, and had no city under his authority. Only once he attained the post of a Mountain Chieftain would he be in control of a city with a hundred, thousand followers. Furthermore, the Orbs of Will harvested from the vassal city would all belong to the Mountain Chieftain and didn’t need to be handed over.
Unlike other areas, the number of followers in a vassal city were strictly controlled. Only by attaining a particular rank would one be able to enjoy the treatment from a specific number of followers. They were not something one could increase as he or she pleased.
Similarly, a Manor Head could only be charged with a vassal city of a million followers; a Hall Master would have one with five million followers; and a Palace Lord would control one with ten million followers.
When one was at an Overlord’s level, obviously they wouldn’t obtain a vassal city of a hundred million followers. That was not a population belonging to a normal city. A population of ten million was already the limit to what a city could provide for. Thus, Overlords would obtain ten vassal cities, each with a population of ten million followers.
The Martial Manor Lord Lan Hou was exactly the person charged by the Overlord with managing these ten vassal cities. It was not wrong to call him the Overlord’s trusted aide.
With Lan Hou’s status, a single word from him would have his subordinates in the Martial Manor offer work to Lord Xing and resolve the problem of his status. It wouldn’t be anything difficult at all.
However, when Miao Yi and the rest heard that Lord Xing actually had a connection to the Martial Manor Lord Lan Hou, they were surprised. They didn’t think that a cultivator at White Lotus Fourth Grade would be able to have any kind of relationship with an important figure like Lan Hou. They initially thought that he was just an average grunt.
However, the deed was done. There was no point in being fearful now.
Lin Pingping really wanted to cry but she couldn’t. She still didn’t know what their true identities were, and she was already dragged into an incident like this. The esteemed one before her was a little too bold, actually killing people off from the Martial Manor at the drop of a hat. Just because of a minor dispute, he didn’t just kill one, but three in a single stroke. ‘Even I could endure it. Why couldn’t you? I dread the thought of what would happen if word of this got out.'
However, she knew better than anyone that this incident happened because they were trying to stand up for her.
"Milord. Let us return. We mustn’t remain in the capital city any longer," nervously said Tian Qingfeng.
Luo Shuangfei quipped, "What a coward. No one knows we’re the ones who did it. I’m the one who killed them and I’m not even afraid. What’s a lookout like you so scared about?
Tian Qingfeng was rendered completely speechless—‘Of course you’re not afraid. You’ve always been putting your life on the line doing things like this. Plundering others and murdering them was your original line of work. How could we compare to you?’
He never expected that Miao Yi would sing the same tune. "Now that the situation has come to this point, all the more reason for us to stay."
Tian Qingfeng asked, "Why?"
Miao Yi shook his head, "Our residential status is recorded in Jade Capital Peak. If we leave immediately after people from the Martial Manor disappeared, we are sure to attract suspicion. It will be easy to find us then, by looking at the records from the place we are staying at. Don’t think too hard about it. We don’t need to sneak around like that. All we did was kill a few puny grunts. It won’t attract too much attention. We can just leave normally after the night of the annual festival."
Even though he said that, once their group returned to the courtyard of Jade Capital Peak, they were still a little tense. It wasn’t a minor incident after all. They were prepared to spend the next few days quietly in their courtyard, observing the situation before planning their next move.
Meanwhile, Luo Shuangfei was completely unfazed. He ordered the servants in the courtyard to step away, then tossed out the three corpses. Holding a small jade bottle in his hand, he pulled the lid open and poured some white powder onto the corpses’ wounds. Smoke began to rise immediately after the white powder came into contact with blood.
Spreading from the wounds, bubbles began forming and melted the corpses away, emitting a mysterious and refreshing fragrance. In but a short moment, all traces of the three corpses were gone—leaving some sort of liquid substance in their place which would be turned into fertilizer.
Lin Pingping could feel chills all over her body. Miao Yi and the rest looked at Luo Shuangfei and thought—‘As expected of someone who came from a history of thievery. He is very adept at disposing of corpses and erasing any evidence of foul play.’
In the flower garden, Miao Yi called for Tian Qingfeng to accompany him and began transmitting his voice over, "This incident could either be major or minor. I’m afraid that Lin Pingping might surrender to her fears. Have your men keep a watchful eye on her. If you discover anything amiss, I don’t wish to see someone making any reports. Do you understand what I’m saying?"
This incident happened because they wanted to stand up for Lin Pingping. However, if this woman didn’t know how to appreciate that and insisted on reporting them, then Miao Yi wouldn’t care whether she was a pitiful person or not.
Tian Qingfeng nodded, "Understood. I will make the necessary arrangements."
Over the next few days, the group seemed to just stay in their courtyards and residences to focus on their cultivation.
Lin Pingping was rather restless because Miao Yi and his group could leave as they wished, but she still had to live in the capital city. Fortunately, she didn’t do anything foolish…
Temperatures were warmed in the capital city as flowers bloomed all around. In stark contrast, South Edict Manor was still covered in snow and frost at this time with the cold winds howling incessantly.
Mount Calming Sea — Yan Xiu led his forces over, unabated by the wind and snow. Leaving his subordinates, he alighted from his dragon steed and rushed into the grand hall.
Within the loft where the Mountain Chieftain handled her official affairs, a few Cave Masters were already present and having a conversation with Qin Weiwei.
After paying his respects to the Mountain Chieftain, Yan Xiu handed his annual tribute over to Hong Mian and Lu Liu.
Gongsun Yu could clearly see that Qin Weiwei was a little distracted. When she spoke, she would occasionally shoot a glance at Yan Xiu.
After Yan Xiu was done with his handover, he stepped forward and asked Qin Weiwei if she had any further instructions for him, expressing that if there weren’t any, he would take his leave.
Yan Xiu was fully aware of his own capabilities. He was meant to do Miao Yi’s legwork in the first place, and shouldn’t hope for the Mountain Chieftain to regard him too highly. If there was nothing to be asked of him, it was best to quietly leave.
"You stay." Qin Weiwei ordered him to remain, while waving her hand at the others, "The rest of you can leave."
"Understood!" Gongsun Yu and the rest bowed before retreating away.
Everyone else was simply curious why Qin Weiwei had asked Yan Xiu alone to stay, whereas Gongsun Yu’s lips couldn’t help but twitch.
When everyone left, Qin Weiwei extended her hand and motioned for Yan Xiu to sit down and talk with her.
Yan Xiu graciously accepted her invitation and sat down. Then, Qin Weiwei asked, "Is everything alright with East Arrival Cave?"
"Everything is fine." Yan Xiu courteously replied, but he couldn’t help but laugh bitterly deep down as he had a pretty good guess about what the Mountain Chieftain wanted to talk to him about. She already sent word to East Arrival Cave before he left, that he was to bring Miao Yi with him, and that she had something to talk to Miao Yi about.
As he expected, after Qin Weiwei gave him a nod of approval, she moved on to ask, "Is Miao Yi here with you?"
Yan Xiu had an awkward expression as he continued to help Miao Yi shoulder the blame, "Your subordinate has previously ordered Miao Yi to run an errand outside. It appears he has yet to accomplish his task which is why he couldn’t make it back in time. When he returns, I will have him come see you immediately."
Qin Weiwei narrowed her eyes at him. ‘Some things we just choose not to say it out loud. It would be odd if you were actually able to order Miao Yi to run errands for you. Who knows who’s the one giving the orders in reality?’
"The last time he was here, I sent a message over to East Arrival Cave not long after he left. You responded by saying that he had gone on an errand. It seems like he hasn’t returned to East Arrival Cave all this while? Over half a year has passed. What errand does your little East Arrival Cave need that requires such a long duration?"
Yan Xiu broke out in a cold sweat, and awkwardly replied, "I ordered him to go purchase several items."
Qin Weiwei knew this was definitely just an excuse, but she didn’t make things difficult for him. She knew that he was most likely forced by Miao Yi to reply that way, and simply asked asked, "Where did he go? How many men did he bring with him?"
"It is a small matter. He didn’t bring anyone with him and departed alone. For the moment, I don’t know where he is."
"Didn’t bring anyone with him? Is he not afraid of danger?" Qin Weiwei furrowed her brows and continued, "There are so many mouths to feed in East Arrival Cave. If he doesn’t return, what will you use to pay their salaries? Aren’t you afraid that East Arrival Cave will be thrown into disarray? Have you heard no news from him all this while?"
Yan Xiu weakly replied, "It seems like he has deposited the salaries with the Celestial Nation Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce branch within South Edict Manor has already sent word over that we are able to withdraw from it once every year. Your subordinate is thinking of doing just that during this trip."
‘What blasphemy was this? Not only was the entire East Arrival Cave waiting on a Horse Deputy to distribute their wages, even the Cave Master had to go and make the withdrawal himself.’
"Withdraw once a year?"—‘BANG!’—Qin Weiwei slammed the desk and abruptly stood up. Furious, she asked, "Is he thinking of staying outside forever and never returning?"
Yan Xiu didn’t have the slightest clue when Miao Yi would decide to come back. Startled, he stood up and repeatedly tried to douse Qin Weiwei’s fury, "Please calm yourself, Mountain Chieftain. He will return soon. I promise."
"What impudence! He doesn’t hold the binding authority of my Mount Calming Sea with any regard at all!" shouted Qin Weiwei. "Yan Xiu. Don’t you know that he is someone that always likes to cause trouble? You listen to me. Once he returns, have him come and see me immediately. If he wishes to leave East Arrival Cave in the future, he must have my approval first. You have no authority to grant him this permission. Otherwise, I will have both your Immortal Records erased!"
"Yes. Understood!" Yan Xiu was dripping cold sweat as he acknowledged this order.
As he left the loft, Yan Xiu shook his head with a bitter smile. ‘Why did a Cave Master like himself have to be stuck in the crossfire between the Mountain Chieftain and the Horse Deputy?’
After departing from the Mountain Chieftain’s residence, Yan Xiu was greeted by Gongsun Yu waiting outside. Gongsun Yu came up to him and cupped his fists, "Cave Master Yan!"