Seeing him agree to it, Miao Yi finally smiled. The tension in his words and actions loosening up as he amicably chatted with the two.
As he offered a toast to Hong Mian, Miao Yi asked, "Elder Auntie. Would you like to join us on tomorrow morning’s tour as well?"
"I won’t be joining. Both of you may go ahead." Hong Mian shook her head.
She came here to help the two reconcile, not to be on a leisure trip. Now that the two had set aside their petty grievances, her mission was concluded as well. What’s more, it wasn’t her first time visiting Long Viridescent Cave. She had seen everything it had to offer long ago. She wasn’t interested in exploring the place again.
Miao Yi replied with a simple, "Oh." The smile on his face grew even wider as he continued offering toasts to the other two.
The three of them drank until it was late at night before they left. Gongsun Yu then personally escorted the two to the guests’ lodgings at the rear mountain before taking his leave.
As soon as he entered the lodgings, Miao Yi dismissed the handmaidens that came to serve him with a wave of his hand. He then motioned for Yuan Fang and Luo Shuangfei who were following behind, to inspect the surroundings.
Luo Shuangfei’s head was still drooping listlessly, and he completely failed to see Miao Yi’s signal. Yuan Fang was the only one who quickly left to scan the area.
Miao Yi was a little lost for words as he looked at the lethargic Luo Shuangfei. Ever since he caused this fellow to become like this with his forceful methods, this fellow became like a frosty eggplant. That devious smile could no longer be seen on his face, and he seemed pitiful day after day. Even Miao Yi was starting to regret his actions.
He reached out and tapped on Luo Shuangfei’s thin shoulders. Luo Shuangfei reflexively jerked his body, then twisted his shoulder and swept Miao Yi’s hand away.
Miao Yi's arm hung in the air. Surprised, he asked, "Are you angry at me?"
Luo Shuangfei shook his head. "I wouldn’t dare."
Miao Yi would not apologize because he didn’t think he did anything wrong then. As his own subordinate, Luo Shuangfei had indeed gone too far with what he did. It wasn’t a problem to peek on him bathing, but there were two other almost completely naked women in the bath as well. No man would be alright with another man seeing his women naked.
However, Miao Yi would still try and talk things out with him. With a sombre tone, he said, "Luo Shuangfei. What you did last time had indeed gone too far."
Luo Shuangfei raised his head, and bit his lips as he said, "Do you detest me for interrupting you while you were about to do it with your personal handmaidens? If I didn’t move out then, were you going to kill me?" He heavily emphasized on the last two words.
Under the moonlight, the corner of his eyes were slightly red, as though he was suffering a terrible injustice.
Miao Yi was silent for a while, and didn’t answer. Instead, he reached out and placed his arm over Luo Shuangfei’s shoulder. He felt his body jerk again. It seemed like he was wincing away out of reflex.
Miao Yi immediately curled his arms around Luo Shuangfei’s neck, not allowing him to pull himself away. Towing him by the shoulder, Miao Yi pulled him towards the living room. "I’ve already discussed with the Mountain Chieftain. Your Loose Cultivator status should be resolved soon enough."
He tried to apologize to Luo Shuangfei in a different way using his words and actions. However, Luo Shuangfei still remained silent.
Miao Yi pulled Luo Shuangfei along under his shoulder and walked up the steps to the living room. Then, he said, "As long as you don’t do anything foolish in East Arrival Cave, you can go have fun at the brothels in East Arrival City from now on."
"FILTHY!" Luo Shuangfei suddenly shouted. He twisted his body to the side and pulled away from the arm around his shoulders. Then, he jerked his head to the side, and simply stood under the eaves.
Miao Yi was utterly speechless. ‘You’re the one that enjoys messing around in brothels. How did I become the filthy one?’
Then, Yuan Fang came back right after inspecting the surroundings. He shook his head towards Miao Yi, signifying that there were no problems, before asking, "Milord. Did Gongsun Yu apologize and make amends?"
Miao Yi scoffed, "With Qin Weiwei repeatedly reminding me from up above, it wouldn’t do me well to let the matter escalate either at first. If he publicly apologized, I could have allowed this matter to be resolved just like that. However, this bastard sent all outsiders away and only apologized in private. He is someone who isn’t willing to lose even a little bit of face. These kinds of men may seem like they know when to yield and when not to, but in truth, they are very petty and narrow-minded. Even if you forgive him, he will not remember your benevolence; and if you offended him, he wouldn’t hold himself back either…"
On the morning of the following day, Gongsun Yu, accompanied by his two handmaidens, invited Miao Yi to go on a tour. Similarly, they invited Hong Mian again. She declined the offer still, but she didn’t leave just like that.
Hong Mian was still worried that Miao Yi wouldn’t leave Long Viridescent Cave peacefully. She was concerned that this fellow would start something again once she left, so she decided to wait and leave together with him.
Before Gongsun Yu and Miao Yi left the residential quarters, Yuan Fang and Luo Shuangfei tagged along behind them and intentionally separated Gongsun Yu’s two handmaidens away from him to the back of the group. Gongsun Yu turned to look, and his heart thumped as he vaguely felt that the situation wasn't good.
He turned back to look at Miao Yi full of smiles, and his heart instantly tensed. ‘This bastard can’t be thinking of using this chance to make a move on me, right?’
Maybe someone else wouldn’t, but this bastard would even dare make a vicious attempt on Mountain Chieftain Xiong Xiao. A Cave Master like himself would probably warrant even less of a consideration. Gongsun Yu naturally had to have a contingency. He acted like everything was fine as he turned to his handmaidens and said, "How can we not have wine when we are going on a tour? Go and prepare some."
At the same time, he secretly transmitted a message instructing his handmaidens to gather his forces as a safeguard.
Originally, he wanted them to ask Hong Mian to come over as well. However, Hong Mian already said she wouldn’t come. If he told Hong Mian of his concerns, and nothing were to happen, she would surely make light of him. Then, news of him being cowardly would quickly reach Qin Weiwei’s ears. Thus, he refrained from informing Hong Mian.
One of his handmaidens responded and speedily departed.
The five didn’t walk far along the vast, lush mountains before the handmaiden returned with eight men following after her.
Miao Yi turned back to briefly glance at them. Then, continued to chat away amicably with Gongsun Yu.
They traversed across the lush mountain forest amidst the majestic scenery. Miao Yi wanted to walk further away at first, but Gongsun Yu was against it. He was especially adamant about straying too far from Long Viridescent Cave when he saw that Miao Yi wanted to walk further away. He just briefly told Miao Yi that there wasn’t any good scenery up ahead, and only brought him around the nearby vicinity of Long Viridescent Cave.
Both their plans involved Hong Mian in some part. One didn’t want Hong Mian to hear the commotion and foil his plans, the other was afraid she wouldn’t be able to hear them if they were too far.
Miao Yi would occasionally compliment the scenery along the way. Just when the sun was at its zenith, the group decided to sit down under the cooling shade of an old tree with tightly wound roots. There was a simple stone table under the tree right from the beginning.
The two handmaidens quickly served the wine and food, as Miao Yi and Gongsun Yu sat opposite each other. They engaged in friendly banter, raising their cups every now and then, with their own respective forces standing behind them.
After some small talk, Miao Yi diverted the conversation to the main topic, "Cave Master Gongsun. I have a small request. I would like to borrow something from you."
Gongsun Yu cautiously asked, "May I know what Brother Miao wishes to loan?"
Miao Yi sighed, "Aii! You should know what it’s like for my East Arrival Cave as well. There are too many men, and the yearly expenses are truly too much to handle. This year, the profits are a little lacking compared to the expenses, which is why I wish to borrow some Orbs of Will from Cave Master Gongsun."
Gongsun Yu almost spat in his face. ‘Why did you hire so many men if you can’t afford to?! Asking me to lend you some Orbs of Will to pay your men. I can’t believe you could say something like that!’
However, Gongsun Yu was not an idiot. He finally realized that this bastard wasn't satisfied with yesterday’s apology. Asking to borrow orbs from him was just an excuse. What he really wanted was to extort some compensation. This was why he avoided Hong Mian and raised such a request. ‘It seems if I don’t offer some compensation today, this bastard won't be letting me off.’
Furthermore, Miao Yi mentioned that he was ‘borrowing’. At the very least, he didn’t put Gongsun Yu on the spot for the sake of appearances. It was still up to question whether or not he would actually do so in the future though.
‘Forget it! Just think of it as spending money to avoid calamity!’ Gongsun Yu sucked in a deep breath and made another compromise as he forced a smile, "May I know how much Brother Miao wishes to borrow? I am rather tight on resources as well. I don’t have much in excess I can offer."
Miao Yi smiled, "Not much. Lending me two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will should be enough."
When his words came out, Yuan Fang snickered, whereas Luo Shuangfei didn’t have much of a reaction. It didn’t seem like he understood the significance of two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will to a single Cave.
Meanwhile, the men behind Gongsun Yu were all wide-eyed in disbelief. Gongsun Yu himself was staring at Miao Yi with his mouth agape. He already gave Miao Yi an excuse beforehand and told him that he was short on resources and didn’t have much in excess. He never expected that this bastard would ask for so much regardless.
Gongsun Yu forced a smile and said, "Surely you are joking, Brother Miao? Long Viridescent City receives a little over a hundred low-grade Orbs of Will in a year. Besides those that were to be handed over for tribute, the twenty percent that Long Viridescent Cave is left with only amounts to around twenty orbs. Where would I find two hundred orbs to lend to you?"
Miao Yi waved his hand and said, "Cave Master Gongsun misunderstood me. I am not asking for you to lend it to me in a single stroke. You only need to lend me twenty orbs a year, over the next ten years."
Now that Miao Yi made things clear, Luo Shuangfei finally came to a realization. His lips perked up as his bushy eyebrows twitched. His face finally revealed a smile, but a suppressed one at that.
Gongsun Yu’s expression twitched. ‘If you borrow it all away, what about me?’
This matter concerned the benefits of everyone in Long Viridescent Cave. Finally, one of the men behind him couldn’t resist speaking up, "Steed Deputy Miao. Are you dreaming? Long Viridescent Cave only receives around twenty orbs a year as profit. If you borrow these away for ten years, then wouldn’t it mean that we would not have any wages for ten whole years?"
The one that spoke up was called Tao Ruping. He was the old man who spoke out and threatened Yuan Fang back then at Mount Calming Sea.
Last time, he dared to disregard Yan Xiu. This time, he even addressed Miao Yi directly as Steed Deputy. Naturally, he had a fallback of some sort. What he relied on was precisely his White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivation as well as his Sword Deviate Sect background. With his cultivation, it was only because there wasn’t enough resources to share around that he had no choice but to lower himself to serve under a Cave. He really did not hold someone like Miao Yi with any regard.
When Yang Qing was recruiting the disciples of the three major sects, all of them wanted the opportunity. Naturally, the more capable disciples were the ones who won out when they competed internally. They didn’t mind starting from a low position either as they believed that with their cultivation, they would eventually be able to set themselves apart from the rest. It was because of this that Yang Qing’s forces rapidly increased in strength.
This was evident from the fact that there was also two White Lotus Seventh Grade disciples from the Jade Lady Sect and the School of Imperial Beasts respectively.
Yuan Fang immediately transmitted a message secretly over to Miao Yi and told him that this old man was the one who insulted them last time at Mount Calming Sea.
Little did he know that Miao Yi was fully aware that Long Viridescent Cave was unable to fork out so many Orbs of Will, and only wanted to incite them. If the other party didn’t take the bait, Miao Yi had even worse things to say. Miao Yi didn’t expect someone to immediately fall for it though, but it did save him much effort. He immediately narrowed his eyes at the other person and asked, "Which sect are you from?"
He was asking a question for which he already knew the answer to. It was obvious if one simply judged by the other person’s attire—having four swords strapped with blades-pointed up on his back.
Arrogantly, Tao Ruping said, "Sword Deviate Sect!"
"So what if you’re from Sword Deviate Sect!?" Miao Yi did not mince his words, mocking them right in their faces. "Do you dare to touch even a single hair on this Steed Deputy’s body?!"
When he said this, the three Sword Deviate Sect disciples took a step forward, their faces flushed with rage. The other party actually dared to insult their sect. Tao Ruping pointed at Miao Yi, and furiously bellowed, "How dare a puny Steed Deputy be so insolent. If you don’t apologize, even if the Cave Master gives you face, we are not be afraid of you!"
The Sword Deviate Sect indeed didn’t dare to openly touch Miao Yi. However, the three of them were already a member of the system. Not to mention, Miao Yi’s status at the moment was that of a Steed Deputy and not a superior officer, so they had nothing to be afraid of.