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When she said this, it was impossible to tell if she was joking or not. Judging from her expression alone, it seemed like she was serious. However, considering that she was just joking about earlier on, it would be more logical to assume that this was a joke as well.

Obviously, Miao Yi assumed she was just joking. Given her status, how could she ever take a liking to him? He had never seen a woman who fancied him before, much less beautiful ones and especially one whose status was higher than his own. However, he was still surprised to see that a cool beauty like Qin Weiwei could joke about a topic like this. He suddenly felt this woman might not be so difficult to get along with after all.

Jokes that crossed the line between two individuals would always make it easier to close the distance between them. After imposing on Qin Weiwei to settle his own problems, Miao Yi immediately tried flattering her. "I do wish to repay you with my body, but I am not fitting for you. I’m afraid the number of people who wished to be your dual-cultivation partner could form a line from Mount Calming Sea all the way to South Edict Manor."

Keeping her face impassive, Qin Weiwei replied, "How do you know you are not fitting if you don’t give it a try?"

For her to be able to say something like this was already unprecedented. It had taken her a lot of courage to do so. Even though she made it seem like she was joking, it was truly not easy for her. She could only say such things by sounding vague or by joking around.

Miao Yi chuckled, "I am not that bold. If the Manor Head finds out that a toad like me lusts for the swan’s flesh, he is sure to kill me. I shall refrain from such inappropriate thoughts. It is already enough that we could become friends."

That fellow ended the conversation just like that. Qin Weiwei had more to say but held back. Considering her personality, it had already taken her a lot of effort to bring the conversation this far. Unless Miao Yi was more proactive and took another step forward, she truly wouldn’t be able to say anything more. She still had her own dignity, and wouldn’t beg him so shamelessly.

"What happened between you and Gongsun Yu?"

Qin Weiwei glossed over the previous conversation and didn’t continue on with it, giving the impression that her forwardness earlier was simply said in jest. In that manner, she protected her own dignity and avoided being treated as an easy woman.

"Since you said that you don’t have that kind of relationship with him, I’ll be honest then." Miao Yi scoffed, "When Yan Xiu came to Mount Calming Sea earlier on for the handover of the annual tribute, and after being scolded by you, he was stopped by Gongsun Yu at the courtyard outside. He forcefully questioned Yan Xiu, wishing to know what you discussed with him…"

Miao Yi briefly explained the situation. After listening to him, Qin Weiwei furrowed her brows. Gongsun Yu had always been pursuing her, so she could roughly guess why he would treat Yan Xiu that way. She thought it over for a moment, and decided not to reveal the reason, then she solemnly said, "Could it be some kind of misunderstanding? Gongsun Yu isn’t the kind of person who would rely on superior numbers to bully others."

"I used to think he was a decent fellow as well. However, don’t you think he’s acting a little too arrogant to my East Arrival Cave? Since he was trying to lord over me, I figured I should return the favor. So I personally extended an invitation for him to visit East Arrival Cave for a feast. That bastard was all hot blood, but cold feet. He was actually afraid to come. Then, I sent him another invitation telling him that if he didn’t come to East Arrival Cave, I would bring my men over to Long Viridescent Cave to find him. I didn’t expect him to tattle to you so quickly." Miao Yi chuckled.

Qin Weiwei asked, "Miao Yi. You’re not really thinking of making a move on him, are you?"

Miao Yi rolled his eyeballs and asked, "If I really did so, as your friend, will you stand by me?"

Qin Weiwei found this irritating yet amusing at the same time. How could she not catch his intent to test her? She couldn’t help rolling her eyes and said, "It seems like I am only your friend when you have a use for me. When I don’t, I guess you probably won’t truly treat me as a friend."

Miao Yi laughed dryly. "Of course not! It is I, Miao Yi’s, honor to be friends with Mountain Chieftain. I would never dare sully our friendship so. I just wish to know if something did happen, whose side would Mountain Chieftain take?"

Qin Weiwei shook her head. "Miao Yi. You don’t have to test me. Even if Gongsun Yu were not my trusted aide, given my position, I would not choose to side with anyone. You had better not do anything rash."

Miao Yi lifted his cup and took a sip, and didn’t continue speaking. He never expected Qin Weiwei to take his side in the first place.

Qin Weiwei could see it as well. If Gongsun Yu really did offend him first, this bastard likely wouldn’t let the matter rest so easily. She did not wish to see Gongsun Yu and Miao Yi going at each other’s throats, and offered to mediate. "I will reproach Gongsun Yu for his actions and have him apologize to you, but you will need to let the matter rest as well."

She did not mention that Gongsun Yu had already made it clear to her that he wished to apologize to Miao Yi. In order to quell Miao Yi’s anger, she had to make it seem as if she were going to give Gongsun Yu a scolding.

Obviously, Miao Yi didn’t wish to let him go. ‘After bullying my men that much, you think you can just casually walk away after an apology? Sure, let me tear you a new one first. Then, I can apologize to you as well.’

"Alright. I’ll pay a visit to Long Viridescent Cave later and see whether or not Cave Master Gongsun is sincere in his desire to apologize," replied Miao Yi, pretending to give her face.

Qin Weiwei didn’t hate his guts in the past for no reason. She couldn’t trust his words, and said, "I’ll have Hong Mian send my message over and accompany you to Long Viridescent Cave."

‘Wouldn’t having Hong Mian come with me ruin my plans?’ Miao Yi accepted with some hesitation.

They finished discussing both private and official affairs. Once again, Qin Weiwei invited Miao Yi to stay for a day, preparing to welcome him as a friend. However, Miao Yi declined the offer.

Qin Weiwei was somewhat disappointed. The two of them only met once or twice in over a decade, so she wanted to create more opportunities for both of them to interact more and close the distance in their relationship. However, she wouldn’t lower her pride and beg Miao Yi to stay. She couldn’t do something so degrading.

However, she still gave Miao Yi face and personally accompanied him down the loft.

Hong Mian and Lu Liu were keeping guard downstairs. Seeing the two walk next to each other, they revealed knowing smiles and stepped forth to greet them, "Mountain Chieftain. Lord Miao!"

Miao Yi felt quite uncomfortable hearing them call him ‘Lord Miao’. He responded to their greeting with ‘Elder Auntie’ and ‘Little Auntie’. It was fine for them to be polite, but he truly couldn’t believe that their relationship was so good that he could afford to discard all formalities.

He turned around and cupped his fists towards Qin Weiwei, "Mountain Chieftain. This is far enough. Your subordinate shall take his leave now."

"Since you and I have become friends, do come visit Mount Calming Sea whenever you are free. I believe you don’t wish for me to use my position as Mountain Chieftain to send an official decree and summon you every time either," reminded Qin Weiwei.

"Alright, I understand." Miao Yi obviously had to act like he verbally agreed at least.

He didn’t expect Qin Weiwei to add, "I am a woman who keeps her promises. Since I’ve promised you that I would visit East Arrival Cave, from now on, I will frequently visit East Arrival Cave as a friend. I hope that you won’t find me too troublesome then."

Miao Yi’s lips twitched. He blamed himself for not thinking before he spoke earlier on. On the outside, he still had to act like he was looking forward to it. "Your subordinate wishes for nothing more than for Mountain Chieftain to visit East Arrival Cave. Haha. I couldn’t wish for more." Deep down, Miao Yi hated not being able to slap his own mouth.

"I’ll remember your words." Qin Weiwei nodded, then turned to Hong Mian and instructed her to accompany Miao Yi to Long Viridescent Cave. At the same time, she secretly transmitted a message over and urged her to be vigilant of Miao Yi.

In the end, Miao Yi with Yuan Fang and Luo Shuangfei in tow, departed Mount Calming Sea with Hong Mian and two other escorts and headed straight to Long Viridescent Cave.

As soon as Miao Yi left, a spirit eagle flew out from Mount Calming Sea, to inform Long Viridescent Cave to be ready beforehand. It was clear that Qin Weiwei truly considered Gongsun Yu as one of her trusted subordinates and didn’t wish for him to come to harm…

Suppressing Third Hall — Surging Waves Manor Head Zhao Mu was waiting outside the palace gates.

A moment later, Fei Yun, the Hall Master’s handmaiden appeared by the gate. She smiled and said, "Manor Head Zhao. The Hall Master is ready to see you."

Zhao Mu cupped his fists in thanks, then followed after her to the rear palace. There, he saw Wu Menglan sitting elegantly, having just come out of her closed-door cultivation.

Fei Yun walked up to stand beside Wu Menglan as Zhao Mu greeted, "Zhao Mu respectfully greets Hall Master."

Wu Menglan simply acknowledged his response, then continued, "Zhao Mu. It has only been a few days since you left. Why have you returned? Fei Yun told me that you have something that has to be reported to me personally. What is the matter?"

"This matter concerns Suppressing Second Hall. Your subordinate does not dare to make this decision on his own, so I came here to ask for Hall Master’s guidance." Zhao Mu handed over a jade archive with both hands, which was then passed to Wu Menglan by her other handmaiden, Fei Wu.

"Suppressing Second Hall?" Wu Menglan threw him a curious gaze, then focused her attention on the jade archive. After she read it through, she was a little startled and raised her head to ask, "Is this Xiong Xiao the same one who risked his own life for Yang Qing and tricked Liu Jingtian to deploy his forces in an attack on Zhang Decheng all those years ago?"

Zhao Mu replied, "Yes, this is truly that Xiong Xiao. Yang Qing’s trusted aide. As Surging Waves Manor is close to Mount Shaotai, Xiong Xiao thus contacted your subordinate."

Wu Menglan asked, "Since he is Yang Qing’s trusted aide, he is sure to be highly regarded by Yang Qing. Why would he wish to defect to my Suppressing Third Hall? As far as I know, this Xiong Xiao is rather well-treated by Yang Qing and was given charge of two Mountains. Given his cultivation, he won’t obtain any benefit whatsoever by defecting to my Suppressing Third Hall. Was there some kind of unforeseen development in the situation?"

Zhao Mu replied, "According to Xiong Xiao, Yang Qing did not treat him as well as outsiders thought; and that it was only a facade. He said Yang Qing was petty and unforgiving. He already sensed that Yang Qing would make a move on him eventually, and found out that Yang Qing had drafted him into the ‘Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade’—wishing to use this opportunity to eliminate him. Therefore, in order to save himself, Xiong Xiao is willing to defect to our Suppressing Third Hall."

Wu Menglan knit her brows and said, "There are still a few more years till the Sea of Constellations Subjugations Crusade. Normally speaking, Yang Qing wouldn’t reveal the name list too early either. How did Xiong Xiao find out?"

Zhao Mu replied, "Your subordinate also found this suspicious, and also asked about it earlier. He said that he has a spy in Suppressing Second Hall. This matter involves the two Halls so your subordinate dares not to make this decision, and has thus come forth to ask for Hall Master’s instructions. Xiong Xiao wishes to defect over to me. Should I accept it or not? Please advise me what I should do, Hall Master!"

Wu Menglan stood up, her voluptuous figure under the long dress was seductive and alluring, as she slowly paced around the hall. Suddenly, she stopped and laughed, "Accept it! Why wouldn’t you accept it? It’s not like my Suppressing Third Hall is stealing his forces. Xiong Xiao is the one who wishes to defect of his own accord. That Huo Lingxiao can’t blame anyone else if he can’t hold on to his own forces. Don’t tell me he will come to my Suppressing Third Hall and try to take him back? Hahaha! Zhao Mu. Do as you wish for this matter."

"Very well! Your subordinate understands," replied Zhao Mu with cupped fists.

Now that he had the Hall Master’s instructions, Zhao Mu had nothing left to worry about. He acted swiftly and the response was soon sent over to Mount Shaotai.

After receiving the reply, Xiong Xiao lifted the jade archive and carefully examined it. Seeing that there was even the transcendence seal of approval from the Suppressing Third Hall Master herself, Xiong Xiao was immediately relieved. He gripped the jade archive tightly and revealed a devious smile, "Yang Qing. Since you’re so heartless, don’t blame me for being unfaithful. Miao Yi, you little thief, this time, I will put an end to all our past grievances!"

He whisked his hands about and wrote out several jade archives one after another on the spot. Then, passed them to his handmaiden beside him and said, "Immediately send this to all the Cave Masters and gather them up! I want to flatten East Arrival Cave and rip that little thief Miao Yi to shreds to wash away this hatred in my heart!"

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