Miao Yi began to suspect that he might have been mistaken with what he was seeing.
The reason was, because he recognized the two figures that just soared through the sky to arrive here. One of them was Sister Menglan, who visited him at East Arrival Cave before, and the other was the Red Lotus expert who had assaulted him at the border river during his escape from killing Xiong Xiao previously.
'Why are the two together? Was Menglan a Red Lotus cultivator too?' Miao Yi had a bit of a tough time believing the sight before him. He turned his head away for a moment and blinked several times, before turning to look at them once more. He was still stunned by what he saw.
Clearly, he wasn't mistaken. These two were the Hall Master of Suppressing Third Hall Wu Menglan and her subordinate, Advisor Pang Rang.
Wu Menglan was gazing about at her surroundings when she suddenly caught sight of Miao Yi. She was shocked to see his face. Seeing the flabbergasted look on it, a playful smile curled on her beautiful lips. She decided not to pay any attention to him for now and continued listening to the report being given by Feng Zhihuan and the others.
When she was done listening to the reports, Wu Menglan nodded and said, "Proceed with the transferral soon and immediately set sail."
"Understood!" Feng Zhihuan then turned back and said, "Yang Qing. Hand over the candidate list to Hall Master Wu."
Stepping forward, Yang Qing handed over the candidate list after he had checked that there were no mistakes. Wu Menglan took the list, then scrutinized Yang Qing with a look before calmly asking, "You are Yang Qing?"
"That is indeed the name of this humble servant!" Yang Qing cupped his fists in response. He knew why this Hall Master was showing interest in him, but he wasn't afraid that Wu Menglan would do anything to him as he served his own master.
After that, Wu Menglan didn't question him any further. Instead, she tilted her head a little and gazed at Miao Yi who was deep in his own thoughts. Then, she called out softly, "Miao Yi. Why didn't you pay your respects to me when you saw me?"
Her identity had already been exposed when they addressed her.
'Menglan? Hall Master Wu Menglan of Suppressing Third Hall? So it was her!' Miao Yi had a sudden epiphany and was in the middle of berating himself, when he abruptly heard someone call out to him. He jumped a little in fear. When his eyes locked with Wu Menglan's, he quickly hopped down from his mount and went forward to greet her, "Your humble servants pays his respects to Hall Master Wu."
With that, a large group of people had their attention focused on Miao Yi. Feng Zhihuan, He Yunye and Han Liuping had never seen Miao Yi before. They didn't know why the Hall Master of Suppressing Third Hall would know Miao Yi either.
Yang Qing, Qin Weiwei, Gongsun Yu and the others were also surprised and wondering how Miao Yi would know Hall Master Wu Menglan from Suppressing Third Hall. Seeing the two of them like this, it seemed like they have been acquainted with each other for quite some time.
"Miao Yi. It's been a long time since we last saw each other," said Wu Menglan mockingly. "I heard you were very arrogant recently. Running into my Suppressing Third Hall territory for the purpose of plundering and wrecking violence. Even the Manor Head of my Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor was killed by your hands. Care to explain what happened?"
Pang Rang glared coldly at Miao Yi with his bright eyes. He hadn't quite figured out why those men who had been inflicted with his 'ghost rain' then were all fine now. When news of their condition reached them, he was severely reprimanded by Wu Menglan afterward.
"Your humble servant would not dare be arrogant. The Manor Head of Thriving Ten-Thousand Manor was quite an unbelievable tyrant. I tried to be patient and find a compromise, but he wanted my life regardless. It was just for self-defense!" said Miao Yi, trying to sound neither too disrespectful, yet not too humble. He didn't think that Wu Menglan would dare do anything against him in this place, so he was very calm about it.
"That's quite some self-defense. I will let you say what you like for now. You should know what you really did. I'm not going to waste my breath on this matter with you either," snorted Wu Menglan before continuing to ask, "I heard you are going to participate in the Subjugation Crusade this time?"
"That is correct." Miao Yi replying with proper formality.
Wu Menglan raised her eyebrow and said, "Do you know why I am here?"
Miao Yi respectfully replied, "Your humble servant is uncertain of the reason."
Wu Menglan then calmly said, "Listen to me now closely. The person responsible for this naval voyage to the Sea of Constellations, will be me!"
As the territory where the troops of the Fifth Earthly Branch were assembling for departure this time belonged to Traversing Moon Palace, the Overlord of the Fifth Earthly Branch had naturally allowed Traversing Moon Palace to take charge of this matter. And because the troops of Traversing Moon Palace would gather in the territory of Suppressing Second Hall, the Palace Lord then assigned this matter to the Suppressing Second Hall. However, for some unknown reason, the Palace Lord of Traversing Moon Palace had asked Wu Menglan to take up the responsibility instead, which was how the situation had unfolded to this point.
"Ah… What?" Miao Yi cried out, lifting his head up. He couldn't be calm any longer.
The minor players would always be the last to know or be informed of the entire situation. It was not until this matter was revealed here that they knew the full truth. In fact, even Yang Qing had only somewhat guessed what was going to happen when he saw Wu Menglan appearing at the docks.
"Why? Do you have a complaint?" said Wu Menglan, giving a sidelong glance at Miao Yi with a faint smile on her face; as if saying, 'Weren't you very calm earlier? Weren't you neither arrogant nor humble? Are you scared now?'
"Your humble servant… has no complaints!" said Miao Yi, forcing a smile. He had a hard time spitting out the words from his mouth. In his heart, he was wondering why his life was so full of trials. He was hoping he wouldn't die on this journey before even reaching the Sea of Constellations.
He angled his head to glare at Yang Qing. Since things had come to this, he showed a look of undisguised hatred to Yang Qing. 'I have destroyed Xiong Xiao for you. Are you satisfied now? I am going to die because of you!'
'Why are you looking at me for?' Yang Qing was a little speechless. In his heart, he thought, 'How can you blame me for everything? Can you dare say that you will let Xiong Xiao slip away if I hadn't suggested you to do it?'
Though of course, Yang Qing did feel rather guilty in his heart.
"It's good that you do not have any complaints. Of course, even if you have any, it's useless." Wu Menglan then switched the topic and asked, "Which one is the Traversing Moon Palace's ship?
"That one!" Miao Yi truthfully said, pointing to one of the ships.
"Excellent. I will be boarding that ship then." said Wu Menglan. Turning her gaze to Miao Yi, she then asked, "We are going to depart soon. What are you doing standing here and not boarding the ship? Perhaps you want me to invite you aboard the ship?"
"Of course not. Your humble servant will board the ship now!" He had no choice but to be humble after being trapped under someone else's roof. Miao Yi quickly hopped onto his mount and scanned his surroundings as he rode on Charcoal.
Everyone was looking at him with pitiful eyes, as if looking at a dead man.
Qin Weiwei bit her lips, confusion swirling in her eyes. She didn't even have the chance to say goodbye to him. With several Red Lotus experts on the scene, there was no chance for her to just say what was on her mind.
Gongsun Yu, on the other hand, had a great big smile on his face. He never would have imagined that he would be able to see Miao Yi being struck such with bad luck right then. When he recalled the time Miao Yi had humiliated him and compred it to the contrasting situation now, he almost burst into laughter. In his heart, he was shouting, 'Retribution!'
The troops of Mount Calming Sea had mixed feelings of joy and sadness. Those delighted were naturally members of the three major sects. The ones feeling sad were the disciples of the School of Blue Jade. They could tell that their Mountain Chieftain would have no chance of coming back alive. Their master had seriously offended Suppressing Third Hall, and now he had fallen into the grasp of the Hall Master of Suppressing Third Hall. They feared that he would not even make it to the Sea of Constellations alive, much less coming back alive from the site itself.
'Why are these people gazing at me with such pitiful gazes?' thought Miao Yi, feeling dismay in his heart. However, he quickly straightened his back and swept away the ominous look on his face. 'Even if I die, I will die like a living man!'
With that, he assumed the bearing of a general and rode his mount with an aura of majesty. Quickly rushing over the raised gangplank, Charcoal kicked off the ships deck and leaped again after running on the deck; before finally landing on the skydeck of the large ship.
Turning his mount around, Miao Yi faced the crowd at the docks, and coldly looked down from the deck. He swapped gazes with the thousands of eyes looking at him. The scenery was filled with blue sky and the azure sea, making him seemed a little lonely and isolated.
Wu Menglan turned away, taking her focus away from Miao Yi and gave out her command, "Begin the journey!"
When she was done, her silhouette flashed out, soaring through the sky before landing on top of the ship's mast. She threaded on air like a celestial; her position much higher than where Miao Yi currently stood.
Pang Rang flew toward the stern of the ship instead.
Ten of the high gangplanks setup on the docks were quickly destroyed. The anchors for these ships were lifted up, and the first ten dragon steeds were arranged to serve as the driving power in the engine room for each ship. The stern was beginning to shudder and drift on the surface of the water.
Wu Menglan's ship became the flagship for the journey. Hers was the first to leave the port, followed by the others in succession. The ships slowly drifted away into the distance.
After all the ships disappeared into the horizon at sea, He Yunye and the others then flew off to send their reports.
Yang Qing let out a sigh of relief. After the ship departed the docks, the duties of the two manors were considered to be complete. Soon after that, he ordered his subordinates to head home and return to their own dwellings.
From atop the back of her dragon steed, Qin Weiwei stayed at the docks for a good while. She continued watching the sea, unwilling to leave for a long while with a despondent expression on her face.
Gongsun Yu tightened his lips. This time, he finally ascertained that Qin Weiwei was indeed deeply in love with Miao Yi...
Under the vastness of the sky and sea, a figure stood amidst the wind wearing a fluttering violet dress atop the mast of the ship. Before her, was a great azure blue sight. Wu Menglan was in a happy mood. When she looked down and saw Miao Yi sitting silently atop his mount on the skydeck, she floated down to him.
"Why didn't you lock your mount inside the stable?" Wu Menglan asked,
Miao Yi jumped off his mount and slapped Charcoal on the butt. Charcoal immediately went to lie down on the ground with its buttocks toppling over to one side. Charcoal swished its tail around, feeling the wind of the sea breeze as it dozed off comfortably.
Wu Menglan was shocked. This dragon steed could actually lie down and sleep?
Meanwhile, Miao Yi put his hands behind him and said, "Before this ship reaches the Sea of Constellations, I am the Steward of this ship. I still have some rights to that."
He actually spoke with such attitude with his hands behind him before her. Wu Menglan raised her eyebrows and scornfully said, "Are you already impatient with your life that you dared use that kind of attitude to speak with me?"
Miao Yi calmly said, "You won't let me get away either way anyway. Since all options lead to death, why should I die with such agony?"
Wu Menglan remained indifferent, "Finally feeling scared?"
"I'm already past being scared. I have finally let it all go, in fact." Miao Yi abruptly spread his hands out and suddenly forced a smile, "Sister Meng. You have lied to me so hard! Why don't Sister Meng let Little Brother die with an explanation, for the sake of the warm welcome I gave to you back then? Who is Xiao Yizhu?"
Wu Menglan replied with a side glance, "You don't seem to be a dumb person. I have already shown myself like this. You still can't figure out who he is?"
"Xiao Yizhu. Huo Lingxiao. Xiao Yizhu. He is the head (zhu) of Suppressing Second (yi) Hall, isn't it?"
"What do you think?" Wu Menglan shot back at him.
Miao Yi was suddenly anguished. He didn't need to ask any further about it, so he shook his head and said, "I am really dumb. I should have guessed it a long time ago. It seems that the Big Brother I have sworn with was actually the Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall. Before I could even take advantage of him, I have already brought trouble upon myself."
Wu Menglan scrutinized him for a moment and curiously asked, "Speaking of this, I wish to ask you something. When I saw the candidate list from Suppressing Second Hall, I was surprised. Although you and Huo Lingxiao had pledge brotherhood in name only, based on your relationship with him, Huo Lingxiao should be taking good care of you at the very least. Why did your name still appear on the candidate list for the subjugation crusade?"
After listening to her words, Miao Yi burst into laughter. There was a certain despair in his smile when he said, "It was my sworn brother who chose me to journey to the Sea of Constellations!"
Wu Menglan was stunned, "It was Huo Lingxiao who put your name on the list and forced you to come here?"
Miao Yi felt something was strange and replied, "Does Sister Meng really not know about it, or are you pretending not to?" He was about to ask her the reason why he had been chosen for the crusade.
Wu Menglan scornfully remarked, "Who do you think you are? Why would I care about your affairs?"
'That does make sense,' Miao Yi thought, smiling bitterly.
Wu Menglan then suddenly changed the subject and muttered, "Even though that Huo Lingxiao isn't such a good person, he was a man who still cares a bit for his reputation. He wouldn't go so far as to make you suffer because you forced him to pledge brotherhood with you. Besides, he was just joking with you then in moment of playfulness. There is no reason for him to do that!"