Huo Lingxiao couldn’t hide his embarrassment any longer. He almost succumbed to the urge of charging into the cave, and dragging Miao Yi out to punish him in front of everyone.
In any case, he didn’t want Wu Menglan to witness him being mocked further, so he let out a bitter groan and tossed a jade archive to Yan Xiu. "Give this to Miao Yi to jog his memory."
Yan Xiu caught the jade archive in his hands and examined its contents. After doing so, he was shocked. This was indeed the writ that proved their pledge as sworn brothers. Most importantly, this writ had Miao Yi’s transcendence seal invoked on it. The seal could never be copied or imitated. Yan Xiu was suddenly at a loss—he couldn’t tell who was telling the truth among the two men.
Yan Xiu was always prudent and meticulous when performing his tasks, because he was afraid of causing trouble. He quickly ordered his men to watch Huo Lingxiao and Wu Menglan, while he went inside to personally to deliver the jade archive to Miao Yi.
Wu Menglan was the only one trying to catch her breath as she continued to laugh at Huo Lingxiao. She still couldn’t get over how hilarious the situation was….
Yan Xiu went into the silent quarters to see Miao Yi and explained the current situation to him. He handed over the jade archive, and said, "In case there’s been a misunderstanding, I would like the Horse Deputy to verify this jade archive."
When Miao Yi heard about the writ, he was struck by a sudden recollection. He took the jade archive and examined it, then slapped his forehead.
He suddenly let slip a gasp ‘Aiiyah’. If he hadn’t seen this jade archive, he wouldn’t have remembered the existence of an elder brother with whom he had pledge brotherhood.
"Xiao Yizhu, so it’s him. What is he doing here? Please tell him to come inside! No…., I’ve offended him already. I will personally invite him inside!"
Miao Yi jumped off the stone couch, and hastened his steps.
Qian’Er and Xue’Er looked at each other in bewilderment. ‘Did their master really have a sworn brother?’
As Yan Xiu followed after Miao Yi towards the entrance, he quickly asked, "Is he really your sworn brother?"
"You could say that, kind of. I only swore it without thinking. I didn’t think that he would actually come running here like this. What is wrong with him? Anyway, he didn’t seem to be well off at Suppressing Second Hall, so I guess he’s come to seek financial aid. Since he’s here, I have to give him my warmest welcome," replied Miao Yi, waving his hand as if he didn’t want to think of the past.
As he picked up the pace going towards the gates, he could see Xiao Yizhu was indeed one of the two people surrounded by his men. Miao Yi quickly waved his hand, and said, "They’re my acquaintances. Leave them be. Quickly move away!"
Yuan Fang and the others immediately broke off the encirclement around those two.
Miao Yi smiled, and cupped his fists, "I didn’t know that Big Brother was coming all the way here. Little Brother has greatly offended you. Please forgive me!"
Miao Yi turned his attention to the beautiful woman beside him, and couldn’t help but look twice. He didn’t know who this person that Xiao Yizhu had brought with him was, but her appearance and aura were quite extraordinary.
At the same time, he noticed that this woman was also scrutinizing him with eyes full of curiosity.
Everyone at the East Arrival Cave glanced at one another. This guest was really the sworn brother of their ‘Cave Master’! Moreover, he was from Suppressing Second Hall? Did the connections of their ‘Cave Master’ really stretch as far off as Suppressing Second Hall?
Huo Lingxiao calmly sat on his dragon steed and sighed, "You flatter me! Little Brother is quite something. It’s not easy to meet you. I almost lost my life because of that."
"I know Big Brother is really angry about it, but I had no choice. I will explain to Big Brother later." Even after a few bantering words, Xiao Yizhu still had a grim expression on his face. Miao Yi quickly faced Wu Menglan and cupped his fists, "Big Brother. Is this your wife?"
If ‘Yes!’, then he would have guessed correctly.
If ‘No!’, then it wouldn’t be wrong to crack a joke between a man and a beautiful woman under this heated circumstance.
Wu Menglan stopped laughing. She glared at Miao Yi and scowled, "What! This brat is talking bullshit!"
Huo Lingxiao was caught be surprise from Miao Yi’s words, his previously grim expression evolved into a bellowing laugh, releasing all the anger he had harbored in his heart. Throwing aside his pompous manner, he jumped down from his dragon steed. Then he went forward to tap on Miao Yi’s shoulder, and with a jesting tone, he said, "How could you have seen this wrong?"
After that, he quickly whispered behind Miao Yi’s ear. "Little Brother! Only you can understand my feelings. Why, she is my unrequited love!"
A look of understanding flashed in Miao Yi’s eyes—this was a one-sided love! Since Xiao Yizhu was bringing her into his territory, Miao Yi understood that this was a situation that called on him to support his Big Brother!
Miao Yi didn’t think that Xiao Yizhu would bring someone with a high cultivation base, but nonetheless, he still had to give face to his older brother.
He immediately cupped his fists, and asked Wu Menglan, "If I may, could I know your name?"
Wu Menglan dismounted her dragon steed, and casually replied, "Menglan. ‘Meng’  written with the character for ‘child’ and ‘vessel’, and ‘Lan’ of the orchid flower!" She was afraid of being linked to the Hall Master, and so quickly explained her name to Miao Yi.
To the side, Huo Lingxiao was listening with a smile at the corner of his lips.
"So you are Sister Meng. Since you are a friend of Big Brother, then you are also my friend. Please!" Miao Yi gestured with his hand to welcome her, and personally led his guests into the cave.
As he allowed both of them to enter the cave before him, he quickly gave an order to Yan Xiu, "Prepare a table of the finest dishes!"
Yan Xiu received the order, and went ahead to prepare.
Huo Lingxiao turned around and observed their exchange curiously. A Horse Deputy giving an order to the Cave Master, yet the Cave Master was willing to accept his order. This was interesting indeed.
The weather was just nice when the three of them entered the courtyard behind the main hall. Miao Yi immediately welcomed his two guests into the pavilion in the center of the courtyard, and invited them to take their seats.
After Qian’Er and Xue’Er served the guests some scented tea, they went and stood behind Miao Yi at his command.
Huo Lingxiao and Wu Menglan couldn’t help glancing at the two handmaidens a few times. The handmaidens they had seen before were all clean and pale. They never expected that Miao Yi’s handmaidens would be tanned to the point of being black.
They wouldn’t have known that Qian’Er and Xue’Er had actually became less dark in recent days, after taking care of their skin. They were initially much darker after first coming back from their training, as they had gone through a lot of hardships and experiences.
However, the unusual warrior spirit of the handmaidens caught the interests of these two Hall Masters. It was rare to see such distinctive qualities from women, especially handmaidens.
Wu Menglan nodded, and said, "Your handmaidens have good qualities."
Miao Yi smiled, then gestured with his hands for his guests to have some tea.
After Huo Lingxiao picked up his tea and took a few sips, he looked around and said, "Little Brother, I heard you were demoted to a Horse Deputy, yet I still see you staying at a place much like a Cave Master’s residence, am I correct?"
"This is the Cave Master’s idea. I’m just following his orders." Miao Yi casually explained. He then shot back with a question, "May I know what bring Big Brother to this place?"
Huo Lingxiao chuckled, "After drinking Little Brother’s fine wine, no other wine that I drink could compare. I came to ask for some more wine. I don’t think Little Brother will mind, will you?"
Miao Yi burst out laughing, "There’ll be enough!"
He wasn’t a drinker most of the time, unless when he was in the mood. In the past few years, a few thousand pots of wine had been taken by Yao Ruoxian. However, there was still enough, as he had a surplus of ten thousand pots stocked in the space. It would naturally be enough for just two guests.
Miao Yi then turned his attention to Wu Menglan and said with a smile: "Sister Meng has a beautiful figure that is beyond captivating, and a beauty so great that it can outshine the moon. East Arrival Cave is greatly honored honored to be graced by your presence. I still haven’t asked—what is Sister Meng’s post?"
Women always love to listen to words praising their appearances, and Wu Menglan wasn’t an exception. Keeping her expression calm, she replied, "I am just a Loose Cultivator. It isn’t something worth mentioning about."
"Loose Cultivator?" Miao Yi turned to look at Xiao Yizhu, he had a faint smile on his face. At that moment, Miao Yi understood what he intended. Perhaps this cheapskate Big Brother brought this woman here, so that Miao Yi could help solve the problem of her being a Loose Cultivator. Miao Yi took the risk and asked her a question, "My words are still significant before the Cave Master of this cave. It will not be difficult to ask the Cave Master to help resolve your current condition. If Sister Meng doesn’t mind, why not join East Arrival Cave?"
Wu Menglan froze.
A corner of Huo Lingxiao’s eye twitched, he almost spat out the tea he had been slowly drinking from the beginning. It took him some effort to swallow back his tea. He realized that this kid was really trying to show respect to him, to the point that he would recruit the Hall Master of the Suppressing Third Hall into his command!
Huo Lingxiao coughed, and gave a nod, "What Little Brother says is true." He then cocked his head towards Wu Mengan and said with a serious tone, "Menglan. I think you should accept the offer. Don’t disappoint my Little Brother and his good intentions!"
Huo Lingxiao deliberately cupped his fists at Miao Yi and said, "I’m sorry to have troubled Little Brother."
Miao Yi thought he had guessed correctly. He responded in kind with cupped fists, and said, "As long as Sister Meng is willing, it won’t be any trouble at all. In honor of my Big Brother, I will not allow Sister Meng to suffer in East Arrival Cave."
"Are you two done echoing each other?" Wu Menglan frostily demanded.
"Eh…," Miao Yi looked at Huo Lingxiao in bewilderment. ‘This…., perhaps she is unwilling to do so?’
"I’m used to being free for so long. I appreciate Brother Miao Yi’s kindness, but I must decline your offer." Wu Menglan said without considering it at all.
Huo Lingxiao abruptly shook his head and sighed, as if lamenting the waste of an opportunity.
When Miao Yi saw his reaction, he naturally wanted to offer his aid. He took the initiative and further advised, "Sister Meng. You and Big Brother seem perfectly suited to each other. Wouldn’t it be convenient if both of you could serve in the same place, at Suppressing Second Hall?"
Wu Menglan glared, "Don’t lump me together with him. I’m not involved with him."
Miao Yi thought, ‘Would you follow Xiao Yizhu here if you had nothing to do with him?’
‘What was the point of him being compassionate and generous to Wu Menglan if she wouldn’t have anything to do with Huo Lingxiao?’
‘Who did she think she was! Why does she show such an unpleasant attitude when she is just a Loose Cultivator? No matter how beautiful she is, she is still an elderly woman. She won’t be able to retain her youthful looks with her current cultivation base as she grows older. Hmph!’
On the other hand, Huo Lingxiao let out a few chuckles, as if there was nothing to worry about.
Wu Menglan glanced at the two men, and couldn’t help thinking that she had brought trouble upon herself by coming to East Arrival Cave. She didn’t want to let Huo Lingxiao off so easily, and continued, "Brother Miao. It’s not that I can’t tell between what’s good and what’s bad for me, but when I think about your Hall Master of Suppressing Second Hall—I feel disgusted. I do not want to serve under the command of such a person."
Huo Lingxiao quietly took his cup and sipped his tea.
Miao Yi was surprised and asked, "Has Sister Meng met our Hall Master?"
"I was fortunate enough to have met him once. Huo Lingxiao was said to have committed all kinds of atrocities including rape and plundering…."
Huo Lingxiao suddenly cut into their conversation and said, "Why! Even Menglan’s reputation was ruined at the hands of our Hall Master."
"..." Together with Miao Yi, both Qian’Er and Xue’Er’s eyes widened as they stared at Wu Menglan. No wonder she wasn’t willing to join East Arrival Cave; her feelings had been trampled by the Hall Master of the Suppressing Second Hall before. The Hall Master was too cruel, this woman was quite beautiful, and she was a cultivator on top of that. Was the Hall Master not able to accommodate one woman within the entire Suppressing Second Hall?
Wu Menglan shot a furious glare at Huo Lingxiao, she was really pissed off this time. She clenched her teeth and said, "Don’t you think for a second that I won’t expose you if you spout another line of bullshit again?"
Miao Yi and the others quickly turned their attention to Huo Lingxiao, curious about what he had done to her. A flame of gossip sparked in the eyes of the three, as they strained their ears to listen to the conversation attentively.
Huo Lingxiao let out a dry cough, and said, "Let’s leave it at that and not go that far! After all, I am from Suppressing Second Hall." When he was done speaking, he clamped his mouth shut.
On the other hand, Wu Menglan snapped, and hurled all kinds of curses, "Huo Lingxiao is just a dirty swine, worse than pigs and dogs. He is cruel and cold-hearted, a beast in a human clothing….."
Within a tirade of curses, vulgar words were inevitable.
Huo Lingxiao appeared aloof, remaining indifferent to her curses, only occasionally taking sips of his tea when he heard some particularly brutal curses. At that moment, he decided that he would never let Miao Yi know his true identity in the future at all costs.
Miao Yi took a deep breath, thinking that this woman was better off not being invited to East Arrival Cave—he couldn’t afford to do so; that mouth of her would exhaust him sooner or later.
After lashing out so ferociously, Wu Menglan must have finally gotten thirsty, so she stopped to drink her tea as well. Then, turning to Miao Yi, she said, "Brother Miao. What do you think of Huo Lingxiao?"
Huo Lingxiao squinted at Miao Yi, wondering what kind of appraisal a Cave Master under his command would give to himself.