"Forget it. There's no need to find the next one."
After coming out from a certain cultivation residence behind South Edict Manor, he smiled and stopped Qin Weiwei from taking him to the next residence.
Qin Weiwei was feeling vexed on Miao Yi's behalf after seeing him smile even when the others had given him attitude. She asked suspiciously, "This doesn't seem in-character for the Great Mountain Chieftain Miao to visit people and ask for help. Are you in trouble?"
Miao Yi chuckled, "Is it so rare for me to visit others and ask for help? I don't know how many times I've asked you for a favor. I almost had to devote my heart to you just to get your help."
Qin Weiwei teased in response, "You're the one who keeps talking about heart devotion, but I don't see you putting that into action. You've even given out quite a number of presents today. I don't think I've ever received a present from you, and I've helped you so many times, have I not?"
Miao Yi replied, "Didn't you say that we're friends? It hurts my feelings to have my friends asking for gifts."
Qin Weiwei rolled her eyes at him, and asked, "Are you sure you don't want to go to the next residence?"
"No need. I don't have that many gifts to give away for free. I think I have to give some to the Manor Head as well." Miao Yi waved his hands. Both of them then walked down the mountain together.
Halfway through the slope, Miao Yi was halted by a maidservant and was told that the Manor Head was looking for him. As she was informing him of the matter, she turned around and pointed at somebody behind her.
On top of the hill on the far distance, Qing Ju was beckoning to them. Miao Yi and Qin Weiwei bid each other farewell and swiftly parted.
"Greetings, Little Auntie." Miao Yi approached Qing Ju, cupping his hands together to greet her.
Qing Ju caught a glimpse of Qin Weiwei who was already far away. She then turned to look at Miao Yi and sighed to herself, before gesturing at him to follow her. While they walked, she smiled and said, "You seemed to have offended all the Mountain Chieftains today. Mountain Chieftain Qin, however, didn't seem to mind at all."
"Little Auntie is exaggerating. I have been under Mountain Chieftain Qin's command for many years, so she understands me and knows that I speak without malicious intentions." Miao Yi chuckled.
Qing Ju laughed with a 'snort', "Speak without malicious intentions? It would be strange to trust you after you said that!"
Yang Qing was not receiving guests at the pavilion on the mountain peak this time. Qing Ju led Miao Yi directly towards the Manor Head residence.
Inside the main hall, Qing Mei was seen attending to Yang Qing by his side.
Miao Yi paid his respects to Yang Qing before he did the same to the stern-looking Elder Auntie, Qing Mei.
He hadn't noticed it back then, but now, Miao Yi could sense that this Elder Auntie Qing Mei was being increasingly cold to him. He didn't even know how he'd offended her, but he felt quite bothered by her change in behavior.
Yang Qing appeared to be quite amiable and approachable. He extended his hand toward Miao Yi, gesturing for him to sit down for a talk. He even allowed Qing Ju to pour him a cup of tea. After that, just like Qing Ju, he proceeded to remark on how Miao Yi had offended the Mountain Chieftains earlier on. In the end, he casually asked, "Weiwei seemed to be quite close to you. Have you been in contact with each other?"
Miao Yi laughed bitterly in his heart. He finally realized that this was the reason Yang Qing had summoned him. He replied, "We haven't been in contact with each other since bidding farewell at Mount Calming Sea. I met up with her this time to ask for her help."
"Oh?" Yang Qing continued with amusement, "What do you need her help with? Could it be that you found someone more suitable than me to help you with the two manors?"
"I wouldn't dare trouble Manor Head for such a small thing." Miao Yi sighed, "You've explained to me last time that I should establish a relationship with the three main schools. I'm in this predicament because I have offended the three main schools in Mount Calming Sea. I fear they won't deal with me ever again. With Qin Weiwei acting on my behalf and making the introduction, I think they might more or less show me a little bit of respect."
So that was it! Yang Qing immediately understood his difficulties. He nodded his head slightly. Indeed, it wouldn't be convenient for him to act on behalf of Miao Yi on this matter. Most importantly, it would still be useless even if he decided to do it. The three main schools in the two manors might show respect to him. However, if Miao Yi went to the Sea of Constellations, they definitely wouldn't have to concern themselves with him since no one outside would know what exactly was happening in there. Without a doubt, it was appropriate for Miao Yi to ask Qin Weiwei to act on his behalf rather than asking Yang Qing.
"What are their opinions?" Yang Qing asked.
"Gifting presents to them will never satisfy them. They've been eyeing the long-term benefits they can reap from Mount Calming Sea, so they want me to demote the people from the School of Blue Jade from their posts."
With a sideways glance, Yang Qing asked, "Did you agree?"
Miao Yi shook his head and said, "No. The people from the School of Blue Jade followed me as we charged into Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor. Now that the school is destroyed, how can I possibly double-cross them?"
Yang Qing smiled and shook his head. He didn't know what to say to Miao Yi at all. For many years, Miao Yi had been in the world of cultivation where the weak would be at the mercy of the strong, yet there was still a part of him that allowed his emotions to cloud his judgment. At this point in time, he was still particular when it came to breaking someone else's faith. However, as the Manor Head, it would not be favorable for Yang Qing to encourage his subordinate to double-cross others. If he were to unknowingly encourage his subordinates in that matter, they might conveniently find a chance to betray him. One needed to distinguish their matters between those of importance and triviality. It was up to Miao Yi to comprehend which was which in regards to his cultivation.
But back to the topic at hand, this was the reason why Yang Qing had great admiration toward Miao Yi.
But because of that, Yang Qing could not allow Miao Yi to marry Qin Weiwei. Those who could not distinguish between the reality of the cultivation world, and instead allowed their emotions to handle matters, would quite easily die an early death.
"I am unable to help you in any matters that have already been decided by the Hall Master. If you have a problem in any other aspect, you can find me any ime. I will help you as much as I can, provided that I have the power to do so." Yang Qing promised him once more.
Miao Yi muttered in his heart, 'What can you help me with? If you could, then you would have helped me a long time ago. Perhaps you are still abstaining from that matter, and you're unwilling to allow Qin Weiwei and I to get in touch with each other anymore?'
Yang Qing continued, "Once you go to the Sea of Constellations, you won't have to worry about Mount Calming Sea. According to the rules, before the crusade is done, the participants will be able to continue retaining their respective position. No one will be able to touch your post. The rewards for the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade haven't been settled yet. Perhaps this might be your chance to shine. I have faith in you. Not once have you disappointed me in anything you've done. Besides, you have an advantage that no one else has. After all, you have been to the Sea of Constellations before."
"Thank you, Manor Head, for your advice." Miao Yi nodded, but deep down, he was cursing with all his might. Could that even be compared? This time around, a total of 150, 000 demons and monsters would be fighting to their deaths at the Sea of Constellations. Besides, if it weren't for Yao Ruoxian last time, he wouldn't even have made it back alive.
Both of them did not converse for too long. Yang Qing had already turned around and ordered Qing Mei and Qing Ju to gather the respective Mountain Chieftains to depart and deliver their tributes to the Suppressing Second Hall.
Miao Yi also followed the formation as they departed. He took only Tian Qingfeng and Liu Qian with him, and sent the others back to Mount Calming Sea.
Even though the number of people delivering the tributes were less than last year's, most of the people in this formation were Blue Lotus cultivators. Their collective power was greater than last year's formation.
Qin Weiwei was contemplating something throughout the whole journey. She kept talking to Miao Yi throughout their journey and did not ride beside Yang Qing, something that Miao Yi suspected she might be intentionally trying to show Yang Qing. This had Yang Qing turning around to gaze at them several times. Miao Yi could only groan in his heart from being in this situation.
He was already in a terrible predicament. If he were to provoke Yang Qing any further, it could end quite badly for him...
Miao Yi actually wanted to find out what had happened to the Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall, and why this person had picked him to go to the Sea of Constellations. But when they reached the place, he didn't even get a chance to go into the towering hall at all.
He had wasted his time making the journey. After Yang Qing had delivered the tributes, Miao Yi accompanied him back to South Edict Manor. Afterwards, the other Mountain Chieftains were allowed to go back home...
After returning to Mount Calming Sea, Miao Yi gave a few instructions to his subordinates and then quickly entered a state of closed-door cultivation.
This time, he'd been given the cold shoulder when he sought out the three main schools. With that, he had completely given up on trying to mend his relationship with them ever again. He couldn't avenge the School of Blue Jade, and he would never do such a thing. In spite of that, he would never agree to take down the disciples from the School of Blue Jade from Mount Calming Sea.
In the world of cultivation, it didn't matter how many deceptions and blackmailings there were, or how often the weak were preyed on by the strong, Miao Yi would not be righteous all by himself and become some sort of saint. However, there would always be a trace of morality in his heart that only belonged to himself.
Moreover, he had finally seen clearly the true nature of their people. Their eyes were always gazing upward, and they had been looking down on him from the start. Even if he complied with the three main schools, it wasn't guaranteed that they would help him once he went to the Sea of Constellations. There might be a chance that they would push him to become their scapegoat. If that was the case, then why should he betray Tian Qingfeng and the others and do such despicable things in the first place?
This time he understood completely that the world of cultivation was no different than the secular world. He had to be humble whenever asking for help, and he had to look at their facial expressions too. There were some situations where he could never place his hopes on other people. All he could do was depend on himself…
Spring had passed and autumn came. In the blink of an eye, four years had passed.
Miao Yi, who was sitting cross-legged on a stone chair inside his silent quarters, slowly opened his eyes. A White Lotus Seventh Grade bloomed between his brows as he gently let out a breath of air. Finally, he had broken through to White Lotus Seventh Grade.
For the sake of breaking through with his cultivation as soon as possible, he had barely left the stone room for more than half a step in the past four years. Only by elevating his cultivation base would he have extra protection once he went to the Sea of Constellations.
He had poured his heart into his cultivation these past four years, and during this period, he had never shown any affection to Qian'Er and Xue'Er. He had seldom seen them, and he had also left the two ladies and Yan Xiu to handle most of the outside matters by themselves. Miao Yi had practically immersed himself in a state of isolation.
He didn't attend the tributes that had taken place during that period either. He only sent a message to South Edict Manor informing them that he had closed himself inside to cultivate in order to prepare for his excursion to the Sea of Constellations. With that, he requested Yang Qing to give consent to his absence.
Since Yang Qing had promised that he would help him, he would naturally give his consent in regards to this little request. In the end, Miao Yi's absence was approved.
Miao Yi silently invoked his art and checked the situation of his cultivation base. As expected, if he wanted to break through to Eighth Grade from his current grade, he required at least 320 low-grade Orbs of Will for it to happen.
He tried to refine the remaining Orbs of Will inside his mouth once more and estimated that he could only refine fifty orbs in a year. In other words, he would require six to seven years to be able to break through to the next level. The Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade would start next year. It would be impossible to think that he could go there with a cultivation base of White Lotus Eighth Grade.
He was now most concerned about the battle armor set that Yao Ruoxian would be refining for him. A few months ago, Miao Yi had asked about the progress of his battle armor when the two ladies came to ask for instructions on some matters. Both of them responded that Yao Ruoxian said he would have them done soon.
However, there was no news yet. This caused Miao Yi to become somewhat anxious on what Yao Ruoxian was doing with his armor. The ladies' Second Grade battle armor sets were already done, but why hadn't his armor set been refined after so many years? That old man couldn't possibly be swindling him, could he?
In the beginning, Miao Yi had managed to endure this matter because he was closing himself in to break through his cultivation base. Now that his cultivation had already reached the seventh grade, he couldn't endure it any longer. He had to go to Yao Ruoxian and find out what was going on.
He pulled himself out from the silent quarters and walked out to the passageway outside. He could see Qian'Er and Xue'Er sitting cross-legged on the chair on each side of the entrance to the passageway. They were in the middle of their cultivation as well. Both their cultivation bases had broken through to White Lotus Second Grade just last year.
When they heard movements, the ladies quickly retracted their cultivation to check on the situation. When they saw Miao Yi finally coming out after secluding himself for several years, they couldn't help greeting him with the utmost delight.
Miao Yi smiled and motioned to them with a nod. Before he could say anything, Qian'Er made the first move to speak, "Master, father has already finished refining your battle armor just last month. He said this is the critical period of your cultivation, so he wouldn't allow us to disturb your cultivation. He only told us to wait until you are free before we bring you and Charcoal together to try them on."
Miao Yi was pleasantly surprised as he listened. The battle armor set had taken a few years to make, and now it was finally done. With a happy wave of his hand, he said, "Let's go and have a look together."