This was the viciousness of a woman's heart! They had finally experienced that today.
The two who had been called to follow Miao Yi suddenly felt chills down their spines. However, they could only let out a sigh. 'Indeed, this woman cannot be provoked. They're even punishing their dragon steeds as well.'
However, it was still fine. The engine room could only house ten dragon steeds at a time. Those punished numbered to twenty people. Their mounts could take turns in running the engine. For the dragon steeds, it wouldn't be too great of a problem.
The three of them then entered the stables. Miao Yi remembered the room numbers of the three major sects, and their numbers should correspond with the numbers at the stable. They took out ten dragon steeds belonging to Su Jinggong and the others and then forced them into the engine room through a passageway.
Inside the engine room, there were already ten dragon steeds connected to a chain. This allowed them to run around the turntable individually, like a donkey mill. Each of their respective masters would sit cross-legged on one side and take turns steering the boat.
There were two hundred cultivators inside the ship registered as participants. For the sake of fairness, ten dragon steeds would pull the turntable for a day before taking turns with the next group. Each dragon steed was estimated to assume the duty of pulling the turntable three times before they could reach the Sea of Constellations.
When they saw Miao Yi and the others pushing dragon steeds into the engine room, the ten people sitting cross-legged opened their eyes quickly and stood up to assess the situation. It wasn't the time for the next shift to take over yet, so why did they come here? Naturally, they wanted to ask what was going on.
The two who had been called along quickly explained the story of Su Jinggong and the others offending Wu Menglan. The ten people inside the engine room felt sorry for them but refrained from commenting. Their mounts did not have to suffer any longer, so everyone felt satisfied.
To avoid the ship from suddenly stopping, the ten people quickly switched out their mounts, one-by-one, with the mounts of Su Jinggong and the others.
Naturally, Miao Yi needed to brief the matter in detail so that the next group of mounts belonging to the three major sects would assume their roles in the engine room once the current group switched shifts with the next group.
Before he left, Miao Yi reminded them once more, "I have an association with the three major sects. We are friends. You guys don't have to worry about feeding their dragon steeds. I will personally manage their fodder. When you switch to the next shift, just pass the message to them."
Everyone could care less about the feeding if it could save themselves some trouble. At the same time, some regarded Miao Yi as a righteous man, while others thought that Miao Yi was trying to flatter the three major sects. They presumed that he was doing so just to ensure that he had some form of reliance at the Sea of Constellations.
Miao Yi could care less what they thought of him.
Right when he returned to his room, the violent storm had just appeared on the vast sea. He took out some chilled fruits from the cold jade case and sampled them as he walked towards the window. It was inconvenient to open the door to the balcony because of the storm, so he could only open a gap in the window, and allow the wind and rain to pour into his room.
Miao Yi peeked through the gap and saw around twenty people, Su Jinggong included, standing firmly on the ship's bow, all while embracing the baptism of the violent wind and storm. All of them were Blue Lotus cultivators, so they were still able to withstand the windy downpour that would normally blow away an ordinary person. He could see that much from the way they stood at the bow without budging a muscle.
However, he still could not bear the sight of their cruel circumstances, especially when their faces were repeatedly hit by the torrential waters as one mighty wave after another came crashing on the ship's bow. More than anything, this showed how strong Su Jinggong and the others were for withstanding the storm.
Miao Yi slurped at his food as he watched the scene. Too bad the storm couldn't extend to three months without stopping, otherwise he could have made this lot suffer even more.
The reason he allowed them to stand at the bow and not at the deck for their punishment was because he feared that Wu Menglan would feel strange at seeing them. With that, she definitely wouldn't hesitate to ask them for an explanation. That question would certainly expose his deeds, so he decided that it would be best if Wu Menglan did not catch sight of their situation.
Miao Yi closed his window and sat cross-legged on a chair. He tossed an Orb of Will into his mouth and continued his cultivation.
The storm quickly came and left. After less than half a day, the dark clouds and rain were gone, revealing a pure, vast sky filled with sparkling stars. It was already late at night. The sounds of calm waves after a violent storm were pleasing to the ears. Charcoal, who had entered the room to hide, waved his serpentine tail as he dozed off.
Miao Yi halted his cultivation and went down from his bed. He opened the door and walked to the balcony, raising his head to see the brilliant stars blinking in the night sky. The sight of the sea without the bright, radiant moon was particularly delightful. Miao Yi then looked toward the bow, where about twenty people still stood firmly in the same spot.
Miao Yi soared to the sky and landed on the deck. The group was still in the middle of their cultivation, but at his approaching footsteps, they opened their eyes and turned around.
"Everyone must be tired." Miao Yi clasped his fists together.
"Steward Miao, we have something to trouble you with," said Wan Yanhua.
Miao Yi swept his glance at the women. One disadvantage of being a cultivator was that even after encountering a furious storm, they still weren't drenched. Otherwise, he would be able to discern whether the bodies of these maidens were any different than ordinary women.
"What is it?" Miao Yi inquired.
Li Yaoqi sighed, "Steward Miao, it doesn't matter if we keep standing here. However, we still need to ensure our dragon steeds perform their duty. We can't have them slow down the speed of the ship and anger Hall Master Wu, so I wonder if Steward Miao can handle this for us."
Miao Yi chuckled, "No need to worry. I have already readjusted the order of the ship's engine duty. Your steeds no longer have to go on duty anymore. They can rest in their stables. Considering all of you are in the middle of your punishment, the others were able to understand your predicament."
There was a terrible feud indeed between Miao Yi and this group of people. Miao Yi wasn't the slightest bit ashamed when he said these words. Their dragon steeds were constantly running the engine even though they were quite exhausted. Yet Miao Yi had told them that their dragon steeds were resting instead.
"Many thanks to Steward Miao." Not caring whether he was sincere or dishonest, they cupped their fists as a gesture of gratitude.
Wan Yanhua then continued, "Steward Miao, there's another thing. We have to remain here due to our punishment, so I fear that there'll be problems with our dragon steeds' food intake. And so, I will have to trouble Steward Miao with that as well."
"About that!" Miao Yi took the chance to mention his terms, "Everyone knows that I am potentially weak in strength. I wonder if the three major sects could look after me for a while once we reach the Sea of Constellations?"
With that, everyone began to relax. They were initially worried that he would take the opportunity to tamper with the situation. Clearly, this person was still trying to please the three main sects so they would protect him. He wouldn't dare to offend them too far. Evidently, honor wasn't as important as his own life.
Everyone sneered in their hearts. On the surface, they nodded politely and said, "Of course."
Su Jinggong added his assurance, "When we reach the Sea of Constellations, you are free to follow any group from the three main sects."
"That's right." Li Yaoqi and Wan Yanhua assured Miao Yi as well. They decided to hold down Miao Yi first before anything else.
Miao Yi immediately smiled and cupped his fists in response, "Don't worry, everyone. Just leave the matters of your mounts to me. As long as everyone is well, it will be of great assistance to me once we reach our destination."
After completing the exchange, Miao Yi dismissed himself and left.
After waiting for him to leave, Su Jinggong and the others exchanged glances behind his back. With flinty looks, they sneered at Miao Yi. 'You want us to help you in the Sea of Constellations? By then, we'll see that you die! If you hadn't disclosed this matter to Wu Menglan, we wouldn't have to suffer that violent storm.'
The violent storm had completely washed away any gratitude these people had for Miao Yi. As they braced against the windy downpour, their hearts were screaming for ruthlessness! But alas! That guy had a relationship with Wu Menglan. As long as they were still on this ship, they couldn't afford to provoke either of them. They had no choice but to endure for the time being. Once they reached their destination, they would take their revenge on that brat.
Miao Yi had the same cold smile on his face when he turned his back on them and left. He wanted them to relax their guards by begging them for a trade-off. There was no hope in relying on these three major sects to protect him once they reached the Sea of Constellations. He had to rely on himself to protect his own life. Entrusting his life to others, especially his enemies, would never be safe.
'And you want me to feed your dragon steeds? Let's see if you can still be arrogant while riding a bunch of weak-legged shrimps when we reach the Sea of Constellations!'
Of course, he would still feed their dragon steeds, but he'd limit the quantity. Eventually, he'd slowly weaken their bodies.
Even though doing this was rather cruel, he had no choice but to do it. Regardless of whether he had his opponents killed or his opponents' dragon steeds killed, all his deeds would be exposed to Wu Menglan before he could leave the ship. It would be impossible for Wu Menglan to forgive Miao Yi since he had played her as a fool.
It was certainly refreshing to take revenge so openly when given the opportunity to do so. But there was no need to place himself in trouble. There was no need to rush. He had already grasped control of the situation, so he decided to take it nice and slow.
When he returned to his room, he locked his door and continued his cultivation.
The next morning, the round, golden sun emerged from the boundless expanse of the sea's clear surface. Miao Yi halted his cultivation and walked out to the balcony before jumping down. He then walked toward the bow and said to Su Jinggong and the others, "Hall Master Wu wants me to report on the ship's situation every day. I'm just about to head there, so I can plead for Hall Master Wu to cut you some slack and see if she'll let you all off the hook."
"We are sorry to have troubled you." Everyone quickly cupped their fists in gratitude. In truth, they were beginning to foster a deep hatred for a certain someone the longer they stood at the bow.
"No need to thank me. We are friends. We still have to rely on each other when we reach the Sea of Constellations," Miao Yi said courteously before he left.
'Friends? Who's your friend?' Everyone sneered at Miao Yi's words.
Miao Yi flew up to the deck and raised his head to view the vast cloudless sky before he looked at the golden morning sun. A mischievous smile then appeared on the corner of his mouth. He estimated that the sun would be a bit hotter today. With last night's shower and today's long exposure to the blazing sun, that bunch of people was quite fortunate indeed.
Dong dong dong! Miao Yi turned toward Wu Menglan's door and knocked. He then greeted respectfully, "Sister Meng!"
In any case, no matter how upset Wu Menglan was, Miao Yi would never respect her as a Hall Master. He insisted on greeting her as 'Sister Meng', which affected her more or less. At least it was easier to have things go his way whenever they talked by calling her 'Sister'.
"Come in!" Wu Menglan's voice rang out from the cabin.
Miao Yi invoked his arts and unbolted the pins behind the door. He pushed the door and entered, then headed towards Wu Menglan's bedroom door. As usual, he saw her sitting cross-legged on the couch, immersed in her cultivation. He cupped his fists and said, "Little Brother has followed Sister Meng's command and came to give you my daily report."
Without bothering to open her eyes, Wu Menglan said indifferently, "Report."
"Everything is normal on the ship. But…" Miao Yi hesitated for a bit.
Wu Menglan opened her eyes and asked, "But, what?" She didn't wish for anything to happen on the ship. Only after sending all participants to the Sea of Constellations would her duty be considered completed. If she didn't absolutely have to, she didn't want to start killing people on the ship and cause chaos.
Miao Yi smiled, "Everything on our ship is fine. But we don't know about the other ships. Why don't I inquire about their situation on behalf of Sister Meng?"
Wu Menglan's eyes lit up, and a sardonic smile appeared on her mouth, "Were you always this kind? Do you have some sort of scheme up your sleeves?"
"Nothing can ever be concealed from Sister Meng." Miao Yi laughed humorlessly. He then pulled a face and said, "I'm not going to lie to Sister Meng. I do have some plans of my own. Because Little Brother has offended the three major sects, I thought that I might be able to find some assistance from the other ships when we reach the Sea of Constellations. But don't worry, I will look into the other ships' conditions as well… Sister Meng, it's rare for me to be sincere. For the sake of Little Brother's enthusiastic entertainment at East Arrival Cave, please allow me this."