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Walking in large strides, Huo Lingxiao intended on going to Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor personally, but in the end, he stopped after he stepped towards the door.

With his current cultivation, killing Xiong Xiao wouldn’t be a problem. However, that woman Wu Menglan clearly wanted to see how much of a fool he could become. If he was caught in the act...

These trivial matter could still be handled by his subordinates. What would people think if a Hall Master like himself ran to another person’s territory just to kill a pawn? Not only would he bring shame to himself, he would be violating the rules as well.

When he thought about these points, Huo Lingxiao became even more furious. Xiong Xiao had been certain that he wouldn’t dare to act recklessly like this!

Filled with pent-up anger, Huo Lingxiao produced a piece of jade archive with a flip of his hand and invoked his arts to swiftly scribble something. He tossed the archive at Yu Tian and said with a grim expression, "Deliver it to Yang Qing. Tell him to give me an explanation!"

"Yes!" Tian Yu acknowledged the order and left...

Inside a pavilion, on the mountain peak of South Edict Manor — Yang Qing had a solemn expression on his face after receiving the message from Suppressing Second Hall. ‘Xiong Xiao actually became the Manor Head of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor after defecting to Suppressing Third Hall?’

In the jade archive, Huo Lingxiao didn’t hold back at all as he reprimanded Yang Qing, and questioned the way Yang Qing supervised his subordinate. If Yang Qing’s handling of the matter continued to be unsatisfactory, the Hall Master would give his position to someone else. The contents seemed to treat Yang Qing more like a dog in a manger.

"It was Huo Lingxiao, himself who suffered losses after trying to take advantage of me. Yet now you wish to put the blame on me? This is simply ridiculous!" Yang Qing scoffed.

Such words could only be said behind his back. He had to give Huo Lingxiao an explanation. Who could possibly prove that the Hall Master had a connection to this matter? In due time, everyone would only know that the defector had escaped under Yang Qing’s watch, and it was Yang Qing who hadn’t supervised him properly.

‘Most importantly…’ Leaning on the parapet, Yang Qing gazed icily at the boundless mountain range from on high. The Mountain Chieftain who defected under his watch had become a Manor Head. He would be the butt of jokes if word of this got out. What would the other Mountain Chieftains under him think of that in the future? Would they also defect if they were ever in trouble? If so, how would he be able to manage the two manors from then on? 

When the other names of those who would be participating in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade was announced, everyone would follow in Xiong Xiao’s footsteps. What would he do when he couldn’t even send out the person he signed up?

"Manor Head of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor? Xiong Xiao, are you trying to pit your strength against mine…" Yang Qing murmured to himself. A flicker of uncertainty glinted in his eyes.

Just then, Qing Ju’s voice rang out from behind, "Manor Head. Miss and Miao Yi have arrived."

"Hm?" Yang Qing turned his head around and frowned, "Why did they come together?"

He raised his hand, gesturing for them to be allowed inside. Then, went back to take his seat.

After a while, Qin Weiwei and Miao Yi came in together and greeted the Manor Head together.

Yang Qing swept his gaze over their faces. He clearly noticed that Miao Yi was very nervous. In fact, Miao Yi’s eyes were darting all over the place, trying to avoid meeting his eyes. Yang Qing was instantly suspicious of him.

"Heh heh. Miao Yi. We haven’t seen each other for years." Yang Qing gazed at both of them before he continued to say, "Why did you two come together? Is there a problem?"

Qin Weiwei remained silent. She tilted her head slightly and shot a glance at Miao Yi.

Miao Yi began to sweat bullets from his forehead. He came specifically to make a marriage proposal to Yang Qing. Despite already preparing himself mentally for this situation, he realized that after meeting Yang Qing face-to-face, the pressure he was feeling was extraordinary. It was enough to make him want to flee from the scene.

Yet he was already here. All he could do now was to summon his courage and present a beautiful gift box tied with a big red bow from his storage ring. He presented the box with both his hands and said, "A small token of our appreciation for you."

‘What do you mean by a small token of appreciation?’ Qin Weiwei grit her teeth in anger. ‘This is clearly a betrothal gift for the proposal, and it was I who prepared it for you…’ Unfortunately, she couldn’t say these things on behalf of Miao Yi to her father.

Qin Weiwei had already mentioned that the gift was prepared for the sake of pretending. Naturally, she couldn’t allow Miao Yi who were only here to ‘help’ her prepare the betrothal gift.

"What kind of gift need you to go through great lengths to make it so fancy?" Yang Qing chuckled as he raised his hand. From her place beside him, Qing Ju grinned and walked over to Miao Yi to take the gift from him.

Miao Yi was sweating bullets. He lowered his head and weakly said, "It’s a betrothal gift. I intend to ask Manor Head about a proposal… a marriage proposal. I wish to marry Qin Weiwei."

His voice was so weak that almost no one heard it. Fortunately, they weren’t just any ordinary people—their hearing was extraordinarily sharp.

Qin Weiwei gave him a fierce glare. ‘Why are you making a marriage proposal with such a soft voice? You aren’t a thief!’

However, she was beginning to grow nervous just like Miao Yi.

‘Betrothal gift? Marriage proposal? Marry Qin Weiwei?’

The pavilion was immediately silent. The only sound they could hear was the occasional breeze blowing in. The landscape was painted with the greenery of the mountains and river, whilst the clear sky was flecked with white clouds.

The smile on Yang Qing’s face had instantly frozen, Qing Ju had done the same as well. Her movement froze as she was handing the gift to Yang Qing. Both handmaidens and master focused their gaze at the big red bow on top of the gift box and finally realized that this was actually a betrothal gift. No wonder the gift box looked extravagant. The three were quite shocked at the turn of events.

Yang Qing slowly regained his composure and shot a cold glare at Qin Weiwei, a hint of anger flashed across his eyes. With his intelligence, it wasn’t hard to guess why Qin Weiwei would appear together with Miao Yi before him. It was obvious that she already knew about the marriage proposal, yet she failed to inform him of the important news beforehand. This was unacceptable!

Qin Weiwei was flushed in red as she slowly lowered her head as well. She did not dare to look Yang Qing in the eyes.

‘BANG!’ Yang Qing abruptly slammed the table and stood up, shocking everyone back to their senses. Qing Mei and Qing Ju quickly turned their attention to Miao Yi and Qin Weiwei. Miao Yi bowed his head even more, while Weiwei raised her head up and looked at Yang Qing with courageous and determined eyes, as if unwilling to yield to him.

Qing Ju held the betrothal gift in her hands, not knowing whether she should continue delivering the gift to Yang Qing or not.

Yang Qing finally realized what it meant by—‘you can’t keep a grown woman home’—when he saw his daughter’s gaze. She was already beginning to side with an outsider rather than with him. He didn’t think that she would come with a man to discuss a marriage proposal together. She didn’t have to do it like this, right?

Regardless of how he had predicted Qin Weiwei’s feeling for Miao Yi and however much he wanted her to marry someone, the moment had finally come. But when the time came, he didn’t feel right about it as Miao Yi wasn’t the son-in-law he preferred.

In the end, Yang Qing wasn’t a match for Qin Weiwei’s determined gaze. He slowly moved his gaze to Miao Yi, who still had his head lowered, and calmly said, "Miao Yi. What did you say just now? I didn’t hear it clearly. Lift up your head and repeat one more time."

Miao Yi silently cursed inside, ‘There’s no way you didn’t hear what I said just now. Why the furious anger when you didn’t even hear it clearly? Weird, I came to act my part. I came to help for the sake of happiness, and I haven’t done anything wrong. What am I afraid of?’

Miao Yi calmed down and lifted his head up. Clasping his fists together in a dignified manner, he said, "I came to make a marriage proposal to Manor Head. I wish to marry your daughter Qin Weiwei."

‘And you dare speak of it so loudly?’ Yang Qing was furious. He wanted to ask Miao Yi, ‘What right do you have to marry my daughter?’

However, when he saw the determination in Qin Weiwei’s eyes, Yang Qing let out a sigh in his heart. He couldn’t hold it against them. Instead, he slowly let out a smile on his face and picked up the betrothal gift from Qing Ju’s hands. Then he beamed and asked, "Is this the betrothal gift?"

"Yes!" Miao Yi awkwardly replied.

"Great! I will accept this gift," replied Yang Qing as he placed the dowry on the tea table at his side.

‘That’s all?’ Miao Yi was surprised by the response.

Qin Weiwei’s determined gaze began to soften up. In her surprise, she gradually showed an embarrassed expression on her face and thought, ‘If father accepted the dowry, this means that he has agreed to the marriage.’

She then subtly turned her head to the dumbfounded Miao Yi and urged him to give a response.

Miao Yi came back to his senses and quickly responded by clasping his fists together. "Thank you, Manor Head, for fulfilling our wishes."

Yang Qing chuckled as he waved his hand, "Qing Ju, bring Weiwei with you and head down. I want to have a private talk with my future son-in-law."

This wasn’t the first day Qing Ju was with Yang Qing, so she had understood his behavior quite well. Agreeing to this matter with such ease didn’t seem to fit Yang Qing’s style. Moreover, he had been adamant against Qin Weiwei and Miao Yi being together. A faint glint of concern flashed across Qing Ju’s eyes, yet she managed to maintain a cheery expression on her face. She walked over to Qin Weiwei and hooked on to her arm, easily dragging the shy woman along with her.

Yang Qing slowly walked towards the railings of the pavilion and stared at the shadow of the mountain that was drifting away from him. He then turned around to face Miao Yi and extended his arm with a grin, "Let’s sit down and talk." 

Miao Yi was well-aware that he didn’t have the rights to sit or stand at the same level as Yang Qing, so he responded, "I am fine like this."

Yang Qing did not persist further. Miao Yi did not sit down, so he didn’t either. It seemed like he had already casted aside the matter of the marriage proposal from his brain, and didn’t mention it again. Instead, he casually took out the jade archive he had received from Huo Lingxiao and without any hesitation, he said, "This is the news the Hall Master sent to me. Take a look."

Miao Yi was slightly dubious. Was it appropriate to look at the archive sent by the Hall Master? With a nod of approval from Yang Qing, he then took the archive from his hand and examined the content.

He was shocked when he saw it. Miao Yi lost his voice as he cried out, "Xiong Xiao has become the Manor Head of the Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor?"

He couldn’t stop himself from expressing his surprise at the newly acquired fact. A tiger has set itself closer to him, and he feared that he wouldn’t be able to sleep or eat well in the future.

"You have seen the reprimand that the Hall Master has given to me." Yang Qing walked along the side of the railing with hands clasped behind his back. He then said to Miao Yi who has been following from behind with a frowning face, "I must also share the blame for the hatred that has been going on between you and Xiong Xiao."

With things going at this point, it would have been fine to only let Miao Yi be aware of the situation. However, Yang Qing threw out another news that would stun Miao Yi by mentioning, "The candidate list of the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade for the two manors… has your name on it."

Miao Yi was flabbergasted. He had been to the Sea of Constellations before, and he already knew that place was full of danger before he could even he could go in deeper. If he hadn’t met Yao Ruoxian, he might not have been able to come back alive.

"Manor Head. Did you try to add my name to the list just because of the marriage proposal?" This matter concerned his life. Miao Yi couldn’t help becoming desperate.

Yang Qing could only shoot a glance at him when facing such accusations. However, he wasn’t angry. He waved his hand and said, "You are thinking too much. The list already contained your name even before you come here. It wasn’t me who added your name into the candidate list. Speaking of which, I want to ask you, did you offend the Hall Master?"

"Offend Hall Master?" Miao Yi was surprised as he continued, "How did that develop into this?"

"Originally, the candidate list I sent didn’t have your name on it. However, the Hall Master personally crossed out one of the names and added your name instead. I was surprised by this. If you did not offend the Hall Master, then why would he add your name for no reason at all?" Yang Qing turned around and inquired Miao Yi.

"This…" Miao Yi was shocked. "This is impossible. I have never seen Hall Master before. How did I even offend him?"

Based on those words, Miao Yi suspected that Yang Qing was perhaps trying to deceive him.

"See for yourself." Yang Qing flipped his hand-over and handed a piece of jade archive to him.

Miao Yi took the archive and looked at the content. He realized that this was actually the candidate list of the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade. Inside, there were four names, including Xiong Xiao’s. Of course, his own name was in there as well. However, Miao Yi’s name had obviously been added to the list after one of the names was crossed out.

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