Once he was done briefing Lin Pingping, Miao Yi handed a jade archive over to her and instructed, "Bring this name card with you to the Chamber of Commerce and ask Luo Ping to come see me."
"Understood!" Lin Pingping took the name card and quickly departed.
The Chamber of Commerce where Luo Ping worked was just at the foot of the mountain, so it didn’t take long before he came back alongside Lin Pingping. He gave Miao Yi a short greeting as soon as they met.
Luo Ping didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he found out what Miao Yi’s business was. He assumed Miao Yi had some kind of huge deal that he wished to offer him. He never expected to be called over for something as trivial as this.
"I just wanted to try and see if it works." Miao Yi shut Luo Ping up with just this single sentence.
‘Since I came all this way, I might as well get it done. A minor issue like this can be easily handled after all.’
Miao Yi clearly defined the withdrawal limit that Lin Pingping would be allowed each time in the contract. She had to engrave her transcendence seal on it as well, in order to avoid another person impersonating her to make a withdrawal.
Furthermore, if Miao Yi did not wish to allow Lin Pingping to make any further withdrawals from the Chamber of Commerce, he could notify any of their branches. The information would be relayed over, and Lin Pingping would be barred from doing so.
Even though he wasn’t offering much, Miao Yi wouldn’t let Lin Pingping withdraw a whole year’s worth of wages in one go either. What if she couldn’t accomplish the task after withdrawing her wages? It was best to have her withdraw it once a month; at least there was a limit.
Once their business was done, Lin Pingping escorted Luo Ping back to the Chamber of Commerce. When she returned, she brought two messenger spirit eagles along with her.
The neck of a spirit eagle has a ring of feathers differently colored from the rest of its body, commonly known as spirit feathers. This was the most mystifying part on the spirit eagle’s body. As long as one plucked and kept a spirit feather from its neck, no matter where they were, the spirit eagle would be able to feel their approximate location and find them. This was why they were such an effective means of communication.
The price of a spirit eagle depended on the number of spirit feathers on its neck. If all the spirit feathers on its neck were plucked away, it would lose all value and no one would try to even buy or sell it.
Miao Yi and Lin Pingping both plucked a spirit feather from the neck of each spirit eagle. Lin Pingping held onto one of the spirit eagles to easily communicate with Miao Yi; and he took the other one with him, to send messages over to the capital city as well.
Once everything was settled, Miao Yi and the rest left Jade Capital Peak. Then made their preparations to return to East Arrival Cave.
With no words to describe how grateful she felt, Lin Pingping insisted on escorting Miao Yi out the capital city. She watched them for a long time after they left. Once Miao Yi’s party were completely out of sight, she wiped her reddened eyes. Then, rode her dragon steed back.
She couldn’t wait to return to her ‘new home’. It was the cheapest accommodation on Jade Capital Peak. Simply a small house within a small courtyard.
Inside the house, there was a single bedroom, a study room, a living room, and a kitchen. In the small courtyard outside, there was a small alcove beside a rock garden. There was even a tiny pond with several ornamental fish living inside, a giant tree providing shelter against the heat, and a small bed filled with blooming ornamental flowers. A channel entered the courtyard, fed from a spring in the mountains, which made gathering water a simple task.
Even though the place was small, it had all the necessities covered. It was very well-designed and tidy. There were even cleaners who would immediately respond when called, so it was no problem at all for a single person. This was intentionally built for someone staying alone in the first place. It couldn’t accommodate many people.
Even though the environment wasn’t as beautiful as the residence they stayed in before—higher up the mountain where they had a group of servants at their beck and call, it was still much, much better than the inns outside of Jade Capital Peak. The cave she previously stayed in couldn’t even compare. Most importantly, this place was safe. Those ruffians would not dare to cause trouble here in Jade Capital Peak.
After touring the place, Lin Pingping sat under the alcove, admiring the peaceful and serene garden surrounding her.
This was the place she was renting out for her long-term residence. To help her focus on her task, Miao Yi spared no expense in paying for this place. From now on, this was her home. No longer would she have to run around to make ends meet. No longer would she have to be looked down upon by her own daughter.
She gently touched the jade table. Suddenly, large drops of tears trickled down. She held her mouth as muffled cries escaped them.
She felt that it had been too difficult for her. Being born to a prestigious family, she considered herself well-provided for in her youth, with prestige wherever she went. However, for the last few decades—could the lifestyle she had still be called a life?
She always cooped herself up in that small, dark cave. Not only was there no water source, she had to walk quite a distance even just to relieve herself. Her life was worse than a normal civilian’s. What’s more, she lived in fear every single day. There was no shortage of shameless scoundrels among Loose Cultivators who would suddenly barge in and harass her. How could a cave shelter her from these ruffians when it didn’t even have a door? Everyday, she would either live restlessly, or have to fight for her life.
Looking back at how she was forced to look for work to survive, how countless humiliations had allowed her to thicken her face, and in the end, she even forgot her own upbringing and cast whatever was left of her honor aside. To the point where she felt she had no choice but suck in her pride, and pull her clothes open to reveal her pale bosoms….
When she thought about her own upbringing, and then about how she had to do all those shameless things, she felt ashamed for her late husband. Not only that, she remembered how she couldn’t even come up with a dowry for when her daughter was married. She would never forget how the groom’s parents looked at her then.
Now, she no longer had to go through those difficult times ever again. Lin Pingping’s grief changed to joy and she finally crouched over the jade table, crying her heart out with tears of joy streaming down her face.
Startled by her crying, the spirit eagle locked up in the cage under the eaves cawed, bringing her back to her senses.
She wiped her tears away, remembering that Miao Yi didn’t provide her with such a good environment just for her to cry, but for her to focus on the tasks he assigned. If she couldn’t accomplish Miao Yi’s tasks satisfactorily, then she would lose all of it just as quickly.
Lin Pingping took a deep breath. It wasn’t easy for her to earn all of this. She couldn’t afford to lose it again. She must not disappoint Miao Yi! So long as she performed well, Miao Yi told her that he would officially resolve her Loose Cultivator’s status.
Remembering the Orb of Will that Miao Yi left her before he departed, she carefully took it out. It emitted a gentle glow on her fingers and was such a beautiful sight. She lost count of how many years it had been since she had last used an Orb of Will. She almost forgot how it felt like to use one, and even thought that she would never have another chance to use one again before she died. Now, this orb belonged to her, and her alone. As long as she did her duty well, she would get one every year from now on.
She carefully stowed the Orb of Will in her robes once more. Then, took out a hundred Gold Crystals. Obviously, these were also given to her by Miao Yi before he left.
Miao Yi understood that it would be difficult for her to perform the tasks he requested when she didn’t even have money, so he provided her with some capital beforehand. For her subsequent wages, she would need to withdraw from the Chamber of Commerce. Miao Yi already thought of everything for her; taking into account that she might face problems, Miao Yi told her to head straight to the Chamber of Commerce and ask Luo Ping for assistance if she did happen to run into any. He already spoke with Luo Ping about this matter.
She took out fifty pieces of the Gold Crystals and stored them away. The remaining half, she wrapped in a handkerchief and tucked it in her clothes. Then, she stood up and left her modest courtyard.
She crossed the stone bridge once more, entered a small alleyway, and came up to the restaurant managed by her daughter and son-in-law. They were cleaning the restaurant. When they saw her approaching, they couldn’t help but frown.
The son-in-law shook his head and sighed, "I told you. I told you that she didn’t bring those guests from before here to our restaurant for nothing. Hong Hong. It was good that I had you prepare the money in advance, right?"
The daughter bit her lip. She quickly walked to the counter and took out a small pouch. Then, came out and tossed it onto the table. Not even looking at Lin Pingping, she turned her head away and said, "Take it."
Lin Pingping didn’t take the money on the table, but stood there with her chest out as she said, "Come here, both of you. I have something to tell you."
The couple exchanged a glance, realizing that her tone was different today. Since she was still their elder, at least in name, the two eventually walked over with their brows creased. The son-in-law probed, "Too little for you?"
Lin Pingping admonished them both. "I know it isn’t easy for the two of you to manage this restaurant. Business hasn’t been good, and you two are barely able to get by. However, don’t you think you should figure out what the problem is? You two saw what happened earlier with your own eyes. Your dishes are truly lacking in taste. The guests were very unsatisfied. I suggest you both close down shop for a while. Sharpening your axe will not delay your work of cutting wood. It won’t be too late to open your restaurant again once your cooking skills have improved."
The daughter immediately rebutted, "Easy for you to say. If we close the restaurant, how will we eat? What will we drink? We still have to spend our time everyday to offer up our willpower, unlike you who can go wherever you please day after day without a care. Where would we find the time to improve our cooking skills? At times, you would even take some money from us without warning. We don’t dare to close the restaurant, and we can’t afford to either!"
Lin Pingping took out her handkerchief and opened it up on the table, revealing the very eye-catching sight of fifty Gold Crystals. The couple stared at it with their mouths agape.
"Take this money. It should be able to help you two support the restaurant for a while. I wish you both the best of luck."
Lin Pingping didn’t say anything else. She turned around and left. No longer would she have to lower her head in shame as though she had done something unspeakable; as it was before, when she would walk through the door in the past. Instead, she now walked out with her head held high and her chest puffed out.
After all these years since her daughter was married, she could finally display a mother’s pride in reprimanding the two young ones. As she walked down the road, her eyes were moist with tears.
The couple in the shop kept staring at the money left on the table, then exchanged glances. Fifty Gold Crystals was equivalent to five hundred thousand White Crystals. It was no small sum to mortals. It was enough for them to live off of without having to open the restaurant for a long time...
As soon as the twenty steeds entered Suppressing Second Hall territory, Miao Yi split off from Tian Qingfeng and the rest. They had to report back to the School of Blue Jade, and at the same time, Miao Yi had tasked them to pass on a few words to Tong Renmei.
As soon as both parties separated, Miao Yi and Luo Shuangfei carried on with their journey for several more days; it was a long and arduous journey before they finally made it back East Arrival Cave.
When the gatekeepers saw him from afar, they obviously wouldn’t stop him. Miao Yi brought Luo Shuangfei charging in. They even cupped their fists and called out ‘Milord’ in greeting.
Miao Yi simply nodded in reply, and proceeded to the small courtyard behind the grand hall before dismounting from his dragon steed. Then, he brought Luo Shuangfei straight in through the side gate.
Upon hearing the commotion, Xue’Er came to take a look. Then, she joyfully exclaimed, "Master is back. Master is back."
Qian’Er soon ran out as well. The two chattered away beside Miao Yi, completely ecstatic.
Following behind them, Luo Shuangfei eyed the two young ladies with a scrutinizing gaze, then said, "Hey. These are your two personal handmaidens?"
After walking into the house and taking a seat in the living room, Miao Yi nodded to Luo Shuangfei and said, "This is Qian’Er, and this is Xue’Er. This is Luo Shuangfei. He will be a member of the Cave from now on."
Qian’Er and Xue’Er began greeting him, when Luo Shuangfei suddenly scoffed, "This is what your personal handmaidens look like? They’re a little too lacking in terms of looks. It’s an insult to your status, Milord. I suggest you change them. I’ll help you find two prettier ones later on."
‘What’s going on?’ Qian’Er and Xue’Er were instantly stunned. They didn’t know if Luo Shuangfei’s words held any weight with Miao Yi. However, considering he was able to say such a thing to Miao Yi’s face, their relationship must not be normal. Truly shocked, both girls looked as if they were struck by lightning. The joy from seeing their Master return was instantly gone as they anxiously turned to look at Miao Yi.