Pi Junzi was really doing it for Miao Yi's sake. However, Miao Yi didn't appreciate his goodwill and was suspicious of his intentions.
Miao Yi couldn't simply go along with his plan just like that. First, he had to make certain of several things. Otherwise, he might end up failing when he was all but confident of success. He asked, "Pi Junzi, why are you digging out caves all the way here?"
Pi Junzi smiled bitterly and replied, "Lord Niu, forgive me for being rude. But the reason I am digging out caves here is because of you."
"Because of me?" Miao Yi was confused.
Pi Junzi nodded. With a pained expression, he recounted the tragic events that led to his current situation.
Pi Junzi already possessed a cultivation equal to a White Lotus Ninth Grade cultivator all those years ago and was slightly short of breaking through to the Blue Lotus realm. However, ever since his loss to Miao Yi, many years passed, and he had only just broken through to Blue Lotus First Grade several years before.
However, throughout all those years, he had never once escaped the consequences of Miao Yi's actions.
First, Niu Youde killed his master, Madam Wu Hua, then took her Jade Stream Manor plaque to infiltrate the Bejeweled Nectar Conclave. After that, he killed all seventy-two Fort Masters present and even Commander Yuan Kaishan himself. Afterwards, Miao Yi had returned to South Edict Manor, so he didn't know how big of a mess it was at the time. That said, it was normal that he wouldn't know, given the information network at the shabby old place he'd been in.
It was easy to speculate how the Sea of Constellations reacted at the time if he considered how the Celestial Nation would react if a Yao cultivator somehow traveled into its borders, and killed not only Suppressing Second Hall Master Huo Lingxiao but all his Manor Head subordinates as well.
The death of Yuan Kaishan and his seventy-two Fort Masters shook the entire Sea of Constellations. It was understandable if it was a result of internal conflict. However, it was an act done by a foreigner. This was an act of arrogance that blatantly disregarded the authority of the Sea of Constellations. As a result, the Yao Generals themselves came to investigate. Soon, even the Supreme Yao Lord had joined in. In the end, it had even caught the eye of Constellations Master Fu Qing, who personally came over to conduct an investigation.
The investigation explored all known aspects of the case. First, the Yao cultivators of Brass Gong Fort all confirmed that the criminal was a man riding a fat dragon steed called Niu Youde. However, it was beyond difficult to find Niu Youde because he had long since escaped.
Then, the investigation looked into the Jade Stream Manor plaque that Niu Youde had used to infiltrate the Bejeweled Nectar Conclave. Initially, no one had dared to probe the master of the Jade Stream Manor, Bi Youpo. It was because Bi Youpo had a powerful background. However, even Fu Qing himself had personally stepped out. As one of the Four Constellation Masters of the Sea of Constellations, Fu Qing's authority completely outranked Bi Youpo's background. To avoid inciting Fu Qing's wrath, Bi Youpo obediently responded to his summons and underwent the interrogation.
At first, Bi Youpo didn't know that his concubine Madam Wu Hua had died. When he confirmed that the plaque really did belong to Madam Wu Hua, Bi Youpo was enraged. How dare that vile woman cause harm to his sworn brother? He then ordered all the water tribes to search for her. In the end, they managed to find Madam Wu Hua's broken corpse in the ocean. Only then did Bi Youpo realize that someone had first killed his concubine, took her plaque, and then used it to kill his sworn brother.
He was completely humiliated. This murderer had gone too far. In his rage, Bi Youpo declared, "He'd better hope that I don't find him. Even if the Six Sages themselves are responsible, I demand an explanation!"
Pi Junzi obviously couldn't escape from the investigation as well. As soon as they figured out that Madam Wu Hua was involved, he was the first one brought over for interrogation.
However, given how serious the matter was, how could Pi Junzi dare to speak the truth? If he really confessed that he was Niu Youde's accomplice, even though he had been forced to comply, he would definitely die horribly. That was why regardless of how painful the punishment he suffered, he didn't dare to speak the truth. He simply denied having any knowledge from start to finish.
After that, Pi Junzi became hated by everyone. The water tribes treated him as someone from the land, and the people on land treated him as a member of Jade Stream Manor. No one bothered with him as both sides had completely cut him off and he ended up completely stripped of his wages.
At first, Pi Junzi thought he would at least be free this way. However, when it came time for the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade, both sides drafted him in to make up for the numbers. With both the Brass Gong Fort and Jade Stream Manor enlisting him, he had no choice but to come. His luck was incredibly terrible.
Given how dangerous the Subjugation Crusade was, as a land-dwelling Yao cultivator, he obviously had to find allies. However, everyone rejected him because his cultivation was too low. As such, Pi Junzi turned to Jade Stream Manor once more. Fortunately, Jade Stream Manor was in need of help on land. After all, clashes were more likely to happen on land than in water during the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade. Not to mention, Pi Junzi had a talent for digging caves. That was how he was able to meet with Miao Yi again.
When Pi Junzi was patrolling the mountain, he had hidden himself well. However, when he saw Miao Yi, he jumped up in shock and caught the attention of Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei. As a result, Sikong Wuwei's hammer had almost smashed him to death.
Miao Yi was at a loss for words at Pi Junzi's story. He'd never thought that the incident would escalate to such an extent and that even Yuan Kaishan's death was attributed to him as well. Yao Ruoxian was clearly the one behind it.
However, it was understandable. At the time, even Yuan Kaishan had thought that Yao Ruoxian was Niu Youde. Thus, it was obvious that Niu Youde would take all the blame.
He finally understood why Yao Ruoxian would always think about coming to the Sea of Constellations to hunt, but no longer dared to come here secretly as he did before. He probably figured out that the situation had escalated, and didn't dare risk stepping foot in the Sea of Constellations so easily...
There was something that neither Pi Junzi nor Miao Yi knew about. At the time, Western Constellations Master Fu Qing had even sent a notice to the Six Sages requesting them to hand over a man. Who? A man called Niu Youde.
In response, the Six Sages gave face to Fu Qing and investigated all the names of the cultivators within the administration. After their investigation, they told him that there was no such person. Even if there were, they wouldn't admit it either. Who would be willing to deal with such a troublesome matter? What's more, this person truly didn't exist anyway.
Then, Fu Qing declared, "If I ever find out which of the six nations did this, don't blame me for killing my way into your territory to personally apprehend the culprit…"
After listening to Pi Junzi's story, Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei were wide-eyed in disbelief, and they stared at Miao Yi like he was some kind of monster.
Even though they had seen many courageous men, they had never seen one so fearless. A White Lotus cultivator actually dared to come to the Sea of Constellations to hunt for treasure, and even killed seventy-two Fort Masters as well as a Commander, causing such a major incident as a result. This was beyond fearless!
The both of them were not completely ignorant. The administration system here in the Sea of Constellations was slightly different from that of the six nations. A Fort Master here would be around the same level as a Manor Head, and a Commander would be equivalent to a Hall Master.
'This bastard actually killed seventy-two Manor Heads and a Hall Master. How did he do it?'
Both of them had initially doubted Miao Yi when he said he'd only been sent to participate in the Sea of Constellations because he had offended the Hall Master. How could a White Lotus cultivator dare to upset a Hall Master at the Red Lotus realm? However, they completely believed him now. 'Damn. This bastard even dares to kill someone at the Hall Master level. What else could he possibly be afraid of?'
Miao Yi felt uncomfortable from their stares. He rubbed his nose and coughed, "Why are you two looking at me like that?"
Sikong Wuwei clicked his tongue and said, "So I guess it's not your first time coming to the Sea of Constellations!"
"I was lost. I lost my way and stumbled into this place. I wasn't the one who did those things either. I'm merely a scapegoat," Miao Yi gave a cursory reply. Then, he turned to Pi Junzi and asked, "Then the one overseeing this island right now is from the Jade Stream Manor?"
Pi Junzi replied truthfully, "Yes, his name is Hei Langjun. He's a Blue Lotus Ninth Grade sea serpent demon, and a subordinate of Bi Youpo. He wields the mighty artifact, the 'Seamless Net', bestowed upon him by Bi Youpo."
"What sort of transcendent artifact is the Seamless Net?"
"It's a transcendent artifact resembling a fisherman's net. It's very difficult for a person to escape once caught inside."
Miao Yi nodded. He furrowed his brows and asked, "I can see that there is an abundance of demonic aura on this island. There should be quite a number of Yao cultivators, correct?"
"Not many. There are about three hundred Yao cultivators in total. They were all recruited from various locations by Hei Langjun, and everyone heeds his command. Ever since the Subjugation Crusade started, we have been hiding on this island, awaiting the arrival of cultivators from the other nations." Pi Junzi told them everything he knew. He only wished for Miao Yi to be out of his hair as soon as possible.
Suddenly, Pi Junzi's expression drastically changed. He quickly lied down and placed his ears to the ground.
The others didn't know what he was doing. Then, Pi Junzi suddenly jumped up and said, "This is bad. Someone has discovered the cave that we came in from. They've destroyed the giant boulder I used to seal the cave. I can hear the sounds of many mounts. Are these the people coming after you?"
Miao Yi didn't hear anything at all. He turned to Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei. They both shook their heads to indicate that they didn't hear anything either.
"Pi Junzi, you're not trying to scare us on purpose, are you?" Miao Yi asked coldly.
Pi Junzi smiled bitterly, "Lord Niu, this humble one is not capable of many things, but my sense of hearing is a talent I was born with. As long as this humble one places his ears on the ground and listens, nothing within a ten-mile radius can escape my hearing. I can even hear the sound of a rabbit hopping, let alone something that's causing such a huge commotion."
The trio exchanged glances. They never thought this rat demon would have such a unique talent.
Pi Junzi added, "If they've entered the cave, Hei Langjun will surely wish to gather the troops to fight them. This humble one will have to answer the summons as well. I suggest you all take this opportunity and quickly leave through the secret passage."
However, Miao Yi said somberly, "This is strange. How did Gu Sanzheng manage to find the entrance to the cave?" He turned to Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei, and continued, "They surely have some kind of method to track us. If we can't be sure of what that method is, I fear we might not be able to escape."
Within the rocky canyon, the red-nosed black fox jumped onto Tan Lao's shoulder. The boulder blocking the entrance was then ground to dust by Ye Xin's whip, revealing a pitch-black entrance to a cave behind it.
Gu Sanzheng swept his sleeves and blew away all the dust in the air. He furrowed his brows and said, "This place is indeed quite suspicious. But how did Miao Yi and his group become so familiar with this area that they managed to hide inside without anyone noticing?"
Tan Lao said glumly, "We don't have the slightest clue what's inside this cave. If we enter rashly, I fear we will be at a disadvantage!"
Ye Xin gritted her teeth and asked, "Are we just going to let them escape like this?"
She was gnashing her teeth with hatred as she thought about how Miao Yi had almost dragged her along the ground earlier on.
"It seems like only a few people can enter this cave as well. Ye Xin, take command and stand watch outside. Tan Lao and I will go in!" Gu Sanzheng turned around and commanded, "Dong Quan, Hu Zhiyuan, Fei De-an—the three of you will go in front of us and scout the path ahead. Yu Baixing, Jia Zifeng—the two of you will follow behind us both."
He listed five Blue Lotus Ninth Grade cultivators in one go to accompany him.
"Ah!" The faces of Dong Quan and the others twisted in dismay. Dong Quan cupped his fists and said, "Alliance Master. The situation inside is unclear. Shouldn't we first confirm what is going on inside before we do anything?"
Gu Sanzheng swept him a cold glance, "You wish to disobey my orders?"