Miao Yi felt strange about it too, not to mention that she felt the same as well.
Miao Yi initially thought his troubles were because he'd plucked the plum sprig from the plum garden at Suppressing Second Hall. Now that he knew Xiao Yizhu was Huo Lingxiao, he could only deduce that Huo Lingxiao was joking with him no matter how he looked at it. He wouldn't have gone to the extent of making him suffer because of one plum sprig.
Miao Yi could only blame himself for being powerless. Otherwise, he would have definitely put Huo Lingxiao in an embarrassing situation! Hatred engulfed Miao Yi. They were unreasonably sending him to his own death. When he swept his gaze at Wu Menglan's well-developed and demure figure, his eyes lit up. He could never stomach this insult if he didn't take his vengeance against Huo Lingxiao.
He remembered Huo Lingxiao mentioning that he was trying to pursue Wu Menglan. Regardless whether this was true or not, he wanted to wreck him first before finding out the truth. Most importantly, Miao Yi had nothing else he could use to take his vengeance against that guy.
He changed the topic and asked, "Sister Meng, has Huo Lingxiao been trying to pursue you this entire time?"
Wu Menglan face became stiff as she turned her cold gaze at him and asked, "What makes you think you have the right to ask about my personal affairs? Do you think I won't kill you just because you've called me 'Sister Meng' once or twice?"
"I have no other intentions, and Huo Lingxiao was the one who told me himself. I now think this Huo Lingxiao person has a problem. I don't want to see Sister Meng getting fooled by him."
"I know how Huo Lingxiao treats others, and I know him better than you do. You don't need to remind me of that," Wu Menglan said snidely, "You've got some nerve. You keep addressing your Hall Master without honorifics whenever you speak. It looks like your hatred for him isn't so typical. Planning to take vengeance on him?"
"I have no right to do that. I just want to tell Sister Meng about his secret."
"From you? You just found out his real identity, how could you even know of his secret? But, no matter. If there's no harm in it, tell me."
He could tell that Wu Menglan was trying to appear nonchalant, but in fact, she was still interested in knowing about Huo Lingxiao's private matters.
Miao Yi chuckled. "Sister Meng, can I have something in return for this secret?"
Wu Menglan shot him a sideways glance and asked, "What do you want?"
"I will tell you this secret, but you must allow me to reach the Sea of Constellations safely, alright?"
"What makes you think you have the right to bargain with me?" Wu Menglan sneered, an unusual tone of disdain in her voice. However, she continued to speak to him, "Tell me what you know first. I will see if this secret is worth your little life or not."
"This has something to do with Sister Meng's marriage, which is naturally more valuable than my little life." Miao Yi approached her and whispered beside her, "Sister Meng, I have unintentionally discovered that Huo Lingxiao has another woman in his life."
Why did his words make her feel like she'd caught someone committing an act of adultery? This made it seem like she really did have some sort of relationship with Huo Lingxiao. Wu Menglan's pretty face turned cold as she asked, "What do you mean? Even if he has another woman, what does that have to do with me?"
"This woman isn't an ordinary person. Her cultivation base is high, and perhaps the highest one I have seen so far in my entire life. I believe that her cultivation base has already reached the Purple Lotus Realm."
"Purple Lotus Realm?" Wu Menglan lit up. "Don't tell me you've seen her in action before. What kind of person did you see?"
Seeing that she'd become interested in the woman, Miao Yi reminded her of his terms again, "Sister Meng, do you agree to the exchange then?"
Wu Menglan had no intention of killing him to begin with. She was just trying to intimidate him. Otherwise, she wouldn't have talked nonsense with him in the first place. She said impatiently, "Cut the nonsense. Just tell me your part."
Miao Yi chuckled. This could be considered as an agreement to his exchange. He then whispered, "I don't know what kind of person she is. Several years ago, I went to the capital city and accidentally saw Huo Lingxiao and a beautiful woman snuggling together on a flower boat at Jade Lake. After that, we clashed with the members of the Governor's Office. The transcendence energy that the woman displayed back then was simply too horrifying. She quickly attacked the people from the Governor's Office."
"She dared to make a move against members of the Governor's Office right in the capital city?" Wu Menglan was shocked. "Explain in more detail what happened that day."
Miao Yi had nothing to lose, so he quickly recounted the events of that day in detail. However, after describing the facial appearance of that woman called 'Xiao Xiao', Wu Menglan suddenly 'sniggered' and covered her mouth. She pointed at Miao Yi as she laughed, not knowing what she should say to him.
"Sister Meng, what's wrong?" Miao Yi was stunned. He didn't think there was anything funny in his recollection.
As a result, Wu Menglan continued to laugh without restraint. She shook her head and said, "I thought something was weird. I know Huo Lingxiao too well. Even if you have offended him somehow, he wouldn't need to be so discreet in his retaliation. At most he would just kill you off directly. Now I know why Huo Lingxiao wanted to send you to the Sea of Constellations. Everything is your fault."
Miao Yi was shocked for a moment. He wasn't a fool. Otherwise, he wouldn't have survived this long, and he wouldn't have become the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Calming Sea this quickly. He pondered for a while before he cried out, "Perhaps it has something to do with what I've just told you?"
Wu Menglan patted her plump chest and tried to calm her laughter. She then shook her head and giggled, "Indeed, there aren't many who know of Huo Lingxiao's secret. But I am one of the people who do. I have long been aware of Huo Lingxiao's relationship with that woman, so why would I need you to tell me? I say, it would've been fine if you discovered some other secret of his, but you had to stick your nose in this one. He is particularly resentful when it comes to this topic, and he definitely wouldn't want his subordinates to know about it. I understand now. It's not like Huo Lingxiao had no choice but to kill you. You're not worth so much of his concern anyway. If you were, you'd be dead by now. I believe he didn't want to stir up trouble and embarrass himself, so he decided to conveniently send you away through an opportune situation. How did you know that Huo Lingxiao was the one that chose you to go to the Sea of Constellations?"
"I saw the candidate list from Manor Head beforehand. Originally, I shouldn't have even been on there. But Huo Lingxiao had crossed out a name and added mine to the list."
"It appears that I've guessed correctly. Huo Lingxiao did indeed put your name on the list for his own convenience. I was wondering why he needed to be so cautious just to eliminate you. You've dug your own grave, and you can't blame anyone for it." Wu Menglan doubled over with laughter.
In her opinion, Miao Yi had brought this on himself. However, Miao Yi's expression darkened, and with blazing anger burning in his heart, he said with rage, "He wants me to die because I saw him meet someone in secret?"
Wu Menglan waved her hand lightly and said, "It's not because you caught him in the act. The main point is who he met with when you caught him."
"Because of that woman? Who is she?"
"That's not something a small fry like you should concern yourself with. It's just as you say—her cultivation base is very strong— even I can't afford to offend her, which is why I will not discuss it." Wu Menglan turned around and walked toward a small room with beautifully ornamented beams in the middle of the sky deck. She immediately changed the subject and asked, "Is this my room?"
Miao Yi followed her with a frown. His stomach was twisting into knots. Apparently, he shouldn't have been here in the first place. He was even considering capturing Huo Lingxiao and skinning him alive.
However, it was useless to dwell on the past. He could only concern himself with what lay ahead. He quickly caught up with Wu Menglan and said, "Yes. We wouldn't dare let Sister Meng live alongside unrefined people like us."
He now addressed her as 'Sister Meng' whenever he spoke. Walking ahead, he opened the door to the small house, allowing Wu Menglan to enter.
Inside the house, there was a main hall and a special room. The construction of the room was exquisite, with a complete set of tables, chairs, a tea table, and other furniture too. They had even prepared a study in advance. There were calligraphy scrolls and paintings hung on the wall as well. All four sides of the room had windows that could be opened to view the scenery of the endless sea. This was the best place to see it all. The other levels below this room were not as well-designed as this one. In a sense, there was no other room like it in the entire ship. Originally, they had prepared these living quarters for those who had jurisdiction of the ship.
Once Wu Menglan had inspected every room inside the house, she returned to the main hall and said, "If you don't want to lose your life before reaching the Sea of Constellations, then as the steward you must manage everything in this ship to the best of your abilities. Come report to me every day. Now, go! I don't need you to keep me company."
'Who wants to accompany you!' Miao Yi dismissed himself and departed with Charcoal. He sighed a breath of relief, believing that he should be safe from this woman now.
His room wasn't that bad either. It was situated at the ship's bow and was much larger than two normal rooms combined. Even though he couldn't have windows on all four sides to see the view of the sea, he still had three windows on three sides to enjoy the view. On top of that, he had a balcony that he could enjoy all by himself.
Initially, this balcony was a pathway connecting two rows of rooms that everyone could share. But when the Cave Master of East Arrival Cave, Jiang Yunlu, found out that Miao Yi was going to participate in the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade, he quickly directed the artisans to seal off this path at the very last minute and simply turned two rooms into one. After proceeding with the renovation, the balcony that had been intended for public use was converted for Miao Yi's own private use.
As the ship's temporary steward, Miao Yi found it unnecessary for Charcoal to be locked up inside the stable. Charcoal quickly followed Miao Yi, hopping down from the top of the sky deck to the balcony.
Charcoal went up the balcony and lied down, swinging its tail comfortably.
Miao Yi opened the balcony door and entered the spacious, yet comfortable room.
It wasn't his first time entering this area. He picked up a chair, placed it on the balcony, and sat down to watch the large ship riding the wind and breaking the waves. He muttered to himself, "The Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade…"
Many years ago, when the Six Sages had just divided the nation into different territories, it was inevitable that conflicts would break out between their subordinates. If an invading subordinate didn't seize an area, then another one would do it instead. In the end, matters would tend to veer out of control, causing everyone to feel uneasy. In addition to that, the reputation of the Six Sages was affected as well. Afterward, for the sake of tranquility for all living creatures in the world, Buddha Sage Cang Lei suggested carving out a place far away from the secular world and to designate that area for turmoil and chaos. Cultivators from all six nations would be able to settle their disputes, as well as to calm down the aggression between six nations. Henceforth, the event slowly became the incentivized Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade seen today.
In short, six nations would collectively contribute a sum of their cultivation resources, which were then offered as a reward for the cultivators under the six nations to fight and strive for. After ten years, they would reward the survivors with those resources. The reward would be divided depending on the amount contributed. The dead would not be given any, of course.
Some say that this was actually one of the tactics that the Six Sages used to deplete the cultivators below them. With 180,000 cultivators gathered in the Sea of Constellations, the last one hundred people to survive would be able to enjoy that sum of resources. It was easy to imagine why everyone feared to go to the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade. Only 100 among 180,000 people were allowed to live! That was a ratio even lower than one in a thousand!
Even if 180,000 pigs were allowed to run amok for the cultivators to kill them, it would take a long time to do so. And there were a lot of cultivators participating in this event. This was one of the reasons why it could take ten years for the event to end.
When he thought about that, Miao Yi couldn't help but force a laugh. Among these ten ships with two thousand people on board, only one or two would live. Would he be one of them?
He was immersed in his thoughts when he heard a knocking on the door behind him. Miao Yi, who was used to giving commands, instinctively answered, "Come in!"
The door opened, and a sneering voice was subsequently heard, "Mountain Chieftain Miao seems to know how to enjoy his life. This room of yours is so much bigger than ours!"