At the sound of the voice, Miao Yi turned to the door. He realized that his visitors were none other than the three other unfortunate souls from South Edict Manor: Su Jinggong of Sword Deviate Sect, Wan Yanhua of Jade Lady Sect, and Li Yaoqi of the School of Imperial Beasts. With Miao Yi at the balcony, the four unfortunate souls of the two manors were finally assembled together.
A crease appeared on Miao Yi's forehead, he stood up to leave the balcony that faced the vast sea. The moment he walked towards his room, he realized something was wrong. He could see a small crowd outside his door blocking the entrance. Just then, he couldn't make out how many people were gathered around the door.
However, Miao Yi quickly figured out what was going on, and slowly retreated back to the balcony. Su Jinggong and the other two had brought their men through the pathway and entered the room. About twenty people were squeezed into the room. With a single look at their attire, all of them were undoubtedly from the three major sects; and as expected, the Sword Deviate Sect was the largest of them all. Their members already occupied half of those in this room.
All the participants in these ten ships were people from the Fifth Earthly Branch. Just on this ship alone, there were about twenty members from the three major sects. One could see that there were a lot of those from the three major sects in the Fifth Earthly Branch being sent out to the Sea of Constellations.
'Damn it. Are these people that desperate for me to die? Are they daring enough to make their move in this place?'
Miao Yi's nerves tensed. He wasn't sure what kind of cultivation base these people possessed. As soon as he retreated to the balcony, he was already making preparations and was ready to flee at a moment's notice.
Seeing him retreat in fear, Su Jinggong and the others showed expressions that were either disdainful or mocking.
"What business do you have with this steward?" Miao Yi asked.
Clearly impatient, Wan Yanhua said, "Cut the nonsense. Switch rooms for us."
'Switch rooms?' Miao Yi was surprised, "Why should I switch rooms?"
Su Jinggong said dourly, "I have a question as well. Why did you have all of us stationed at the lowest level of the ship?"
No explanation was needed for that one. Miao Yi had offended the members of the three major sects. If he wanted to stay far away from them, he would have to live at the top most part of the ship and allow the three major sects to live at the lowest level. He wanted to avoid bumping into them all the time and risk causing trouble for himself. Hence, when they were boarding the ship, he already had someone make the arrangements for him. Miao Yi felt that such arrangements was right for everyone, both from a professional standpoint as well as a personal one.
'So they came for this reason. I must say, how could they be so bold as to cause trouble on the ship? Do they take the commander of this ship, Wu Menglan, to be a figurehead?' An idea popped into Miao Yi's head and he asked, "Is something amiss?"
Wan Yanhua was fuming as she said, "Of course you won't feel something is amiss when you're the one staying at the highest part of the ship. Why don't you go down and see for yourself. What kind of system is this, letting a bunch of smelly men walking above our heads? It's so noisy and annoying hearing footsteps above us. It's impossible to cultivate peacefully like this."
The three major sects had indeed come to him because of this reason. They hadn't intentionally come to look for trouble with Miao Yi. The boards on this ship were made from wood. If someone were to walk around above, they would definitely hear it. If there were only a few people living above them, then it would have been fine. However, there was a large group of people living on the upper floor. It was inevitable for people to frequently walk around the hallway above most of the time. They couldn't very well allow people to walk in and out through the windows instead.
Obviously, those who stayed at the very bottom level of the ship would be quite disturbed and uncomfortable. They couldn't figure out how Miao Yi got to be a steward. They weren't like Su Jinggong and the others who were more familiar with Miao Yi and knew him; they knew they couldn't afford to cause trouble as they pleased, and could only endure the situation for now.
Miao Yi was elated when he heard her words. "Wan Yanhua. A bunch of smelly men aren't willing to let a bunch of women walk around above their heads either!"
After hearing that, the men from the Sword Deviate Sect and the School of Imperial Beasts couldn't hold back their smiles. Li Yaoqi chuckled, "Those words don't sound bad at all."
The words 'a bunch of smelly men' had instantly insulted all the men at the scene. Su Jinggong shot back at her, adding, "It's very normal for men to be on top and women to be at the bottom."
His words had a hidden meaning. Most of the smelly men smiled, Miao Yi included. He hoped that the argument between these people would continue to escalate.
"What are you trying to say?" Wan Yanhua was furious, and the female disciples behind her were angry as well.
"Take it easy everyone. I have a great idea." said Miao Yi, drawing their attention before chortling, "Why don't you all stay in the same room together? This way, there's no need to see who's going on top and who's going to be at the bottom."
Li Yaoqi and Su Jinggong exchanged glances. They both nodded their heads at the same time and smiled, "That isn't a bad idea. I have no complaints."
The disciples of the two sects behind them cheered along, "Great idea!"
The bunch of smelly men began to randomly ogle at the body of the women. Even though these women would be considered old, the Jade Lady Sect were skilled at making themselves appeared youthful. Otherwise, they would not have called themselves the 'Jade Lady Sect' in the first place. All of them still appeared young and fit.
"Bullshit!" A woman popped out from behind Wan Yanhua and spoke out. Once she stepped forward, Wan Yanhua had to step aside for her. Clearly, her position in the Jade Lady Sect was higher than that of Wan Yanhua. The woman pointed at Miao Yi and furiously shouted, "Are you going to switch or not?"
Miao Yi evaded the question and said, "You have to make clear who's going on top and who's going to the bottom first. I also have no complaints if everyone wishes to stay together."
He really hoped that these people would continue fighting with each other. However, Su Jinggong and the others only made a fuss for a short while; they weren't fools. They didn't dare to raise a ruckus inside the ship. In the end, it didn't go the way Miao Yi hoped.
"Whoever goes on top or on the bottom, and whether we will live together or not is our own problem," said Su Jinggong. Waving his hand, he said, "Just get straight to the point and switch rooms for us."
Miao Yi wasn't that stupid either. He had already offended the three major sects. If he tried to offend the others, he would really be seeking his own death. Once he reached the Sea of Constellations, he would be screwed over by a group of people. In other words, if he raised a huge ruckus on the ship, he would have to bear the consequences later on.
"I don't have the power to do that." said Miao Yi; he waved his hands and continued, "You guys should go switch rooms by yourselves."
However, they didn't want to offend everyone and attract grudges before reaching the Sea of Constellations. Otherwise, they wouldn't have come to look for Miao Yi from the start.
Li Yaoqi smiled, "You are the ship's steward, so it's best if you act on our behalf and switch rooms. Even if the others don't respect you, they have to take into account Hall Master Wu behind your back."
Now that he was certain these people did not dare cause trouble on the ship, Miao Yi did not feel the need to speak nicely and said, "Everyone please return. I have no power over this matter."
Su Jinggong's expression darkened and he gave a warning, "Miao Yi. The participants that the three major sects dispatched aren't just the few of us in this boat. There are more of us in every ship. All the respective sects have dispatched disciples outside of the administration to the other ships as well. If you don't show respect to us now, don't blame us for not showing any to you when we reach the Sea of Constellations."
His words reeked of threat. The gazes they shot towards Miao Yi were filled with loathing and completely made light of him, as if saying, 'Whether or not you agree with it, you have to agree now. Even if you don't wish to, you have to no matter what.'
Miao Yi burst into rage after seeing the look on their faces. However, it wasn't ideal to stir up trouble on the ship, so he suppressed his anger and stiffly said , "If you wish to change, then go ask for it yourself. As a steward, I do not deal with such petty matters."
Li Yaoqi scoffed, "Miao Yi. You should carefully consider the consequences!"
Miao Yi responded with a sneer, "I have thought it over carefully. I don't need to be reminded."
"You asked for it. Let's go!" Su Jinggong shook his hands and turned around, intending to leave his room. He wasn't brave enough to make his move here just yet.
Surprisingly, Wan Yanhua came forward and destroyed their unity by saying, "Miao Yi. If you do not wish to come forward and switch rooms, I will not make things difficult for you either. As long as you set aside this room for my Senior Auntie, the Jade Lady Sect will not bother you any longer. Who knows, we might even take good care of you in the Sea of Constellations." She said, extending her arms and indicating that the woman who just stepped forward earlier was her Senior Auntie.
It would be weird if Miao Yi believed those words. He had no hope that the three major sects would let him off that easily. After being rejected in South Edict Manor, Miao Yi finally understood that even if he were to mix in with them, as an outsider, even if they decided not to deal with him in the Sea of Constellations, they would push him to take the lead at the frontlines. He would be pushed to accept the responsibility of taking the first risk as an outsider. All in all, if he mixed in with the people from these sects without enough power, he would only be seeking his own death; which was why he had dismissed any thought of asking for their help. He could only depend on himself and not put his hopes on others.
Hearing those words, Li Yaoqi stopped in his tracks. Looking around at the posh and spacious room, he said, "What right do you have to get him to surrender this room to the Jade Lady Sect? Miao Yi. If you give us this room, you can join our School of Imperial Beasts once we reach the Sea of Constellations."
Anyone could make empty promises. Even if he add one more to the pile, it wouldn't matter much.
Miao Yi laughed coldly, "Why don't the three major sects hold a competition? I will surrender my room to whoever wins the fight. If you are afraid to die, then don't come here and act almighty."
That was obviously a provocation to these three, but they weren't fools either. With that, Wan Yanhua snapped, "Miao Yi. Don't push your luck!"
Miao Yi had been supporting his family since he was a young lad. Even though he was standing all alone in this place now, it wasn't in his nature to be pushed around. He pointed to the door and roared, "ALL OF YOU GET OUT!"
Their expressions changed. Li Yaoqi snapped again, "What did you say?"
"Then let me say this one more time. I want you all out of here!" said Miao Yi, before taunting them with, "What's wrong? Unsatisfied? Do you want me to meet Hall Master Wu and have a word with her?"
With Wu Menglan in the picture, their anger immediately dissipated. Most importantly, even with these three together, they would simply be fodder to Wu Menglan. If they were brave enough to look for Wu Menglan, why would they need to find Miao Yi in the first place?
"The School of Imperial Beasts will remember this!" threatened Li Yaoqi, sounding absolutely furious. He took his fellow disciples and left.
Wan Yanhua let out a scoff before she leaving as well. Before Su Jinggong walked out to the door, he left a message for Miao Yi, "Brat. You will die once you leave this ship!"
After he watched these people leave his room, Miao Yi shut the door immediately, his expression turning flinty. He swung around with a cold light flickering in his eyes, muttering "Why don't you have a good look at who holds the authority right now? Do they really think this steward wanted to manage the ship because I have nothing better to do? Let's not wait until we are off the ship. I shall torment you all near to death. Let's see who will die first when we reach the Sea of Constellations!"
He hadn't thought of causing trouble inside the ship before. Initially, he wanted to avoid the people from the three major sects until they reached their destination. However, they themselves already made it quite clear that they would kill him as soon as they left the ship. He wasn't one to be trifled with either. Naturally, he wanted to strike first to gain the upperhand.
Miao Yi turned to walk toward one side of the room, and opened a large case carved from a piece of cold jade. Inside the chilled case were various fresh fruits. Their skins had even been sliced off, and the fruits were already cut into individual pieces before being stored inside the chilled case. All of this was a special luxury that the Cave Master Jiang Yunlu had prepared for him beforehand. Even Wu Menglan didn't have this luxury in her room. Among the ten ships in the sea, none of them had this luxury; only him.
He took a jade plate and filled it with a few sliced peaches. Then, he walked toward the balcony and slowly indulged in the fruits; feeling cooled and refreshed. There was a peculiar look in his eyes. Who knew what exactly he was thinking about.
An hour later, he leapt up to the deck, his clothes were fluttering in the sea breeze like a celestial. Miao Yi walked straight to the lonely cabin in the middle of the spacious deck and called out respectfully, "Sister Meng."
"What is it?" Wu Menglan's voice was faintly audible from the cabin.
"Little Brother has something to report."
Miao Yi lightly pushed the door open and entered. There was nobody in the main hall. He walked towards the bedroom door and took a peek, poking his head inside. What he found was Wu Menglan sitting cross-legged on the couch with her eyes closed.
When Miao Yi was about to step inside with his foot out, Wu Menglan said, "Just tell me outside of my room."
Miao Yi retracted his foot and smiled, "Well, it's like this, Sister Meng. The disciples from the Sword Deviate Sect, Jade Lady Sect, and the School of Imperial Beasts admire your beauty and wish to pay their respects to you."