Luo Shuangfei was indeed quite listless. Ever since he was chased out from Miao Yi’s residence, he had become lethargic.
However, in the eyes of Gongsun Yu, he was simply acting weak to deceive the strong, and it was all part of Miao Yi’s plan to set him up. Gongsun Yu now understood that he had fallen for Miao Yi’s trap.
"What do you two think you are doing?" Hong Mian asked icily.
She directed the question to both of them, but her gaze was sternly locked onto Miao Yi’s face. The total number of cultivators registered in Long Viridescent Cave was eleven, including Gongsun Yu. Miao Yi’s subordinate killed off eight of them just like that. If two more were killed, Long Viridescent Cave would have become completely barren with but a lone member.
Hong Mian did not need to make much of a guess to realize that Miao Yi’s actions were intentional, as she already knew the underlying reason. She was quite outraged that even with her presence in Long Viridescent Cave, Miao Yi still dared to do such a thing. He didn’t hold her with any regard at all! And if he made light of her, that meant he was making light of Mountain Chieftain Qin Weiwei as well, because she was sent over by Qin Weiwei precisely to mediate.
Miao Yi laughed dryly. "Elder Auntie. We were sparring and made a wager on it. I told Cave Master Gongsun that he could pick any one of my subordinates to fight, and that his subordinates would not be able to win even if they joined hands. He didn’t believe me, and made a wager of two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will with me. The result is obvious—I won."
Hong Mian abruptly turned to glare at Gongsun Yu. "Cave Master Gongsun. Is this true?"
"Miao Yi! You set me up! I did agree to the spar, but I didn’t say that you could kill anyone!" Gongsun Yu was furious. Most of his subordinates were killed, and he was almost reduced to a lonely Cave Master of a barren Cave.
Miao Yi’s expression changed as he said in an icy tone, "Gongsun Yu. Don’t treat me like a fool. Who was it just now who assumed that he would win because he was bullying the few with the many? Who was it just now who said that accidents are common during spars? Yet you still dare to provoke me with your words. Do you finally feel regretful now?"
"You—!" Gongsun Yu was lost for words.
Hong Mian looked at Gongsun Yu in astonishment. ‘Didn’t you ask the Mountain Chieftain to step in and mediate precisely because you were afraid of the other person? Yet you still dared to provoke him?’
Hong Mian would not believe Miao Yi’s nonsense so easily. She immediately pointed at the two handmaidens and ordered in a penetrating voice, "The two of you. Explain to me what just happened. If I find out that you're hiding something, don’t blame me for being discourteous!" She would not believe just one side of the story, and wanted to see it from every angle.
The two handmaidens panicked and turned to look at Gongsun Yu. Hong Mian immediately cast him a cold glare and said, "Cave Master Gongsun!"
Gongsun Yu quietly nodded, and his two handmaidens immediately explained what had happened in a meek manner.
Naturally, they sided with Gongsun Yu and avoided mentioning some parts of the story that were disadvantageous to him.
However, Miao Yi was standing right beside them. Obviously, he would remind them and ask them questions like—"It seems you two forgot to mention something?"—every so often.
Hong Mian immediately asked, "Did you?"
The two handmaidens quietly looked towards Gongsun Yu. They didn't dare to make a sound. Hong Mian immediately shouted, "Did you or did you not? Answer me!"
Once they finally explained the entire situation, even Gongsun Yu realized how dumb he was. He broke out in cold sweat as he hastily explained, "Elder Auntie. This is a plot that Miao Yi devised!"
Hong Mian wanted to laugh in exasperation. ‘What’s the point of you understanding this now!? How could I not know that Miao Yi intentionally devised this scheme to stir up trouble? However, if you didn’t let your greed get the better of you, how could you have fallen for it? With my presence here, Miao Yi obviously wouldn’t do anything hasty. That was why he had to employ such a roundabout method. If you had endured it, the matter would have ended just like that. But you had to be so stupid to think that you could even beat him with numbers and take advantage of him. If you could win against Miao Yi so easily, why did you need the Mountain Chieftain to mediate? Not only did you fall into the other person’s trap of your own accord, you even dared to taunt him, and allowed him to be in the right, ultimately letting it escalate into a spar between the both of you. What’s more, you even mentioned to him that accidents would always occur during spars prior to the battle. Aren’t you just handing yourself over to him on a silver platter then? You’ve already set the rules and agreed on everything beforehand. What’s the point of having me say anything then?’
‘Fortunately, the Mountain Chieftain was wise enough to not accept the pursuits of an idiot like you. Otherwise, wouldn’t I also have to serve a damn fool like you?’ Hong Mian thought disdainfully and laughed out of anger. She turned her head to the side, tired of speaking on the matter anymore. She was utterly infuriated by Gongsun Yu.
"Ahem!" Miao Yi coughed, then took out a jade archive and said, "Cave Master Gongsun. I know as well as you that you aren’t able to take out two hundred low-grade Orbs of Will in a single stroke. We can divide it up to ten years. However, wouldn't it be best to first sign a Commandment of Conformity?"
Yuan Fang stifled a laughter. ‘Only Milord is capable of doing something like this. It would be impossible for Yan Xiu. How refreshing it is to vent this frustration!’
"Miao Yi. You set me up on purpose!" repeated Gongsun Yu. His body quivering from rage; however, he was at fault as well and didn’t know what else to say.
Miao Yi’s expression darkened at his words. He threw him a murderous glare and said, "Cave Master Gongsun sure knows how to make a good bargain. If I lost, nothing would happen to you. Now that I have won, you wish to annul our wager. You don’t wish to suffer any loss at all. Do you think I am such a pushover?"
Pressured by his vicious glare, Gongsun Yu’s heart thumped, and he turned to look at the two men behind Miao Yi. Just one of his subordinates was enough to challenge his entire Long Viridescent Cave… He was absolutely regretful now. He didn’t know what had come over him for him to offend Yan Xiu last time.
"Elder Auntie!" Gongsun Yu shot a beseeching gaze at Hong Mian. It would be a lie if he said he wasn’t afraid after seeing the murderous glare from Miao Yi. Not all the men of East Arrival Cave had arrived yet—only three were here. Yet he couldn't defend against any one of these three before him at all.
‘You’ve already made all the decisions. What do you still need me for?’ Hong Mian was enraged and really wished she could wash her hands off the matter and leave. However, Gongsun Yu was absolutely loyal to Qin Weiwei. Not only did he risk his life to save her back then, he was also Yang Qing’s trusted aide once. If she really were to allow Gongsun Yu to sign the contract like this, then the Orbs of Will that Long Viridescent Cave would earn in the next ten years, would all be given to Miao Yi. When that happens, who would be willing to serve under Long Viridescent Cave? Gongsun Yu would also have to forget about being a Cave Master anymore. He wouldn’t be able to anyway.
"Miao Yi. You’ve already killed so many of his men. You will be going too far if you continue to cause any trouble!" Hong Mian reprimanded.
Now that Hong Mian had spoken up, it wouldn’t be wise to continue causing trouble. Miao Yi slowly tucked away the jade archive in his hand. "Out of respect for Elder Auntie, and since she is here to bear witness, we don’t have to sign the Commandment of Conformity. However, I’ll keep those two hundred Orbs of Will in mind for now."
Even though they didn’t sign the Commandment of Conformity, Miao Yi wouldn’t just leave the two hundred Orbs of Will aside either. If Gongsun Yu were to suddenly become rebellious one day, he would come to reclaim his debt.
‘This bastard.’ Hong Mian could feel her head ache a little. She didn’t know what to say about Gongsun Yu either. ‘You can’t win against the other person in terms of strength, and you even lost to him when it comes to scheming. Yet you still dared to offend East Arrival Cave. Do you not have anything better to do!?’
After something like this, Miao Yi naturally wouldn’t continue to dawdle any longer. Hong Mian wouldn’t let him either. She had to hurry back and make her report as well.
Before he left, Miao Yi sat on his dragon steed and openly said, "Gongsun Yu. Whenever I meet an opponent that isn’t my match, they would only be able to endure, avoid, or make a compromise. However, you’ve got some guts. Despite knowing fully well that you cannot win against me, you still dared to lord over the head of my East Arrival Cave. Let this be a lesson to you. If you make the same mistake again, I won't let you off so easily! Hmph!"
He then departed Long Viridescent Cave alongside Hong Mian.
On the main road, they were about to go their separate ways when Hong Mian asked, "Miao Yi. You just killed so many men of Long Viridescent Cave. Don’t you think you should be accompanying me back to Mount Calming Sea and explain to the Mountain Chieftain?"
"Elder Auntie. The facts are right before you. Why do you need me to explain any further?"
"You sure phrased it nicely! You and I both know what actually transpired."
"Elder Auntie. I have always been an advocate of the truth. I can’t do anything if you wish to make random assumptions."
Even though Miao Yi believed he was in the right, he still felt a little guilty. It was better not to head to Mount Calming Sea.
Eventually, both parties went their separate ways at a crossroad. Miao Yi cupped his fists and bid farewell, then watched as the three steeds disappeared. After that, he turned around and smiled, "Luo Shuangfei. You did well this time. I will remember this deed of yours."
"Oh!" Luo Shuangfei gave a short response, then returned to his usual silent self.
Yuan Fang also smiled, "Brother Luo is truly outstanding. If it were me back there, I’m afraid I wouldn’t even be able to withstand the techniques of the three major sects. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Brother Luo is the number one expert of East Arrival Cave."
Luo Shuangfei thought—‘If I was the number one expert of East Arrival Cave, I wouldn’t even be here.’ He was a little depressed, and said, "I am but a defeated opponent of Milord. I wouldn’t dare hope to be the number one expert of East Arrival Cave."
"Uhh…." Yuan Fang looked at Miao Yi in stupor and shot him an inquisitive gaze. He didn’t know of the process by which Miao Yi recruited Luo Shuangfei.
Miao Yi revealed a faint smile, and didn’t say anything else. Then, he waved his hand and said, "Let’s go back."
The three dragon steeds bolted away in a thunderous gallop once more. Yuan Fang still carried an expression of curiosity. Given the skills that Luo Shuangfei displayed, he was obviously not using his full strength. It didn’t require much effort for him to kill those eight disciples. Even though Yuan Fang’s own cultivation was a realm higher than Luo Shuangfei, he himself believed that it would be difficult for him to win against Luo Shuangfei. At the same time, he believed that he was stronger than Miao Yi. ‘How did Luo Shuangfei lose to Miao Yi? Could he have hidden some kind of trick?’
In truth, things were indeed so. Back when the eight disciples from the three major sects joined hands, Yuan Fang would have definitely been disadvantaged if it were him fighting. However, if it was a straightforward battle of strength, Yuan Fang’s cultivation was evident. At best, Miao Yi would only be able to bring the fight to a stalemate by relying on his full set of transcendent artifacts. It would be very difficult for him to win against Yuan Fang. Avoiding to fight a Blue Lotus expert was the ironclad law.
However, Yuan Fang’s cultivation was useless against Luo Shuangfei, and might not even be able to penetrate the defenses of his armor artifact. Without taking into account of any other factors, Luo Shuangfei only needed to summon his purple marten to deal with Yuan Fang.
However, whether it was Luo Shuangfei’s Black Rakshasa or purple marten, though they may be useful against other opponents, these devious tricks were completely useless against Miao Yi. In the end, he was only able to fight normally. That being said, when it came to a normal fight, that rather impressive spear art of his was unable to defeat Miao Yi as well. Ultimately, it ended with him losing terribly against Miao Yi instead.
Hence, not only Yuan Fang had been unable to understand; even Luo Shuangfei, who excitedly lead a bunch of Loose Cultivators into plunder but was eventually defeated and recruited by Miao Yi, found it very vexing as well.
Basically in East Arrival Cave, Yuan Fang’s cultivation was able to suppress Miao Yi; Luo Shuangfei’s techniques were able to suppress Yuan Fang; and Miao Yi’s skills were able to suppress Luo Shuangfei. Who knew whether this was a vicious spiral, or a virtuous one....
Night-time, East Arrival Cave — Situated in one of the caves nearby, Yao Ruoxian was sketching various complicated designs on the stone wall. He would occasionally draw a couple strokes on the stone wall, while other times stroking his beard in deep thought. Amidst his contemplation, his ears slightly twitched, and he abruptly turned to look at the outside of the cave.
"Why do so many things keep happening to this tiny East Arrival Cave?" said Yao Ruoxian, furrowing his brows. With a sweep of his giant sleeve, he stowed away the tiny fellows that were chewing on white crystals on the stone couch. Then, he flew out the cave.
Under the starry night sky, he descended onto the courtyard of the Cave Master’s residential quarters, and shouted, "Girls, come out quick."