"..." Tao Qingli was utterly stupefied, and she simply stared at Miao Yi.
Her handmaidens also couldn't help exchanging glances with one another. And down below, Qian'Er and Xue'Er simply lowered their heads and kept quiet. Miao Yi was the only one looking like he still had plenty to complain about.
Tao Qingli was about to argue, but it seemed she was also aware of what type of people her subordinates were. Her tone instantly lost some of its sharpness as she said, "How absurd! How can our subordinate Advisors be so careless with their conduct?!"
"Absurd?" Miao Yi couldn't help sneering at this. He then took out three jade archives and handed them directly to Tao Qingli. "Advisor Tao, you'd best not place a label on it so soon. It's not too late to decide after reading this!"
"Insolence!" Tao Qingli's handmaidens yelled.
Tao Qingli raised her hand to indicate that it was all right. She then took the jade archives from Miao Yi and read them through. It would've been better had she not, because after reading everything, she couldn't help furrowing her brows in displeasure.
With a look of contempt on his face, Miao Yi shook his head and continued, "Fortunately, I still kept the decrees from the three Advisors with me. Otherwise, judging from your attitude, Advisor Tao, I doubt I would've been able to explain myself no matter how hard I tried. I should also mention that these are just the ones that I received. If you wish to look at Zhao Fei's and Sikong Wuwei's as well, I can let them know immediately and have them send theirs over. Moreover, these are only the instructions I received from the three Advisors. I've gotten a few more from several other people as well, but those aren't worth mentioning since they're mostly verbal. More importantly, I'm scared I'll vomit blood in my fury if I do bring them up!" His last sentence was a little exaggerated, but that was fine. He simply needed to show how angry he was regarding the matter.
"Insolence!" Tao Qingli's handmaidens barked again. How dare this guy talk so rudely in front of their mistress!
Tao Qingli raised her hand once again. With creased brows, she looked up from the jade archive and asked Miao Yi, "Is this the reason why the three of you chose to attack Tranquil Sun Manor?"
As Miao Yi was the one standing up, he was able to look down on Tao Qingli. His saliva almost landed on her face as he said, "It's not like I had nothing better to do. Why would I go and attack Tranquil Sun Manor without fully understanding the situation first?! What other reason could I possibly have besides this? With the three Advisors dropping such a huge bombshell on the three of us, where else could we find empty spots to slot in their men? You don't expect us to let them have our Manor Head seats, do you? The problem is that even then we wouldn't have enough vacant positions! The three of us soon found ourselves at an impasse. Fortunately, there was a Tranquil Sun Manor right in the middle of our territories. Realizing this, we decided to join forces and wipe out every living soul there. And in the blink of an eye, we were able to get over a thousand empty slots. Those Advisors can now slot in their men however they like! What worries me is that I'm not even sure if that's enough for the three of them! If it's still not enough, then worst comes to worst, Zhao Fei, Sikong Wuwei, and I will just have to put in some more effort and take down another two Manors for them!"
"Don't you dare speak such nonsense!" Even though Tao Qingli was reprimanding Miao Yi, her tone completely indicated otherwise. She furrowed her brows and continued, "To embark on a massacre just because of this, do the three of you honestly believe that you had done the right thing? You should've just talked it over with the three Advisors and resolve the issue peacefully!"
"I never said we did the right thing. If that were the case, then Advisor Tao wouldn't have come looking for me. And as for resolving the issue, I'd like to ask you, Advisor Tao, how do you propose this should be done?" Miao Yi took a step back and bowed respectfully, then raised his index finger and said, "I'm pretty sure you're only going to say that we should talk to the three Advisors about our problems. However, they already made it quite clear what their stance is on the matter; 'You only need to worry about making the arrangements for my men. No need to worry about the other two Advisors. Simply put, you must figure out a way to slot in my men, and my men alone. Otherwise, I will hold you responsible for this incompetence!' Fine, then! In that case, the three of us have no choice but to free up some slots from Tranquil Sun Manor! We thought that the three Advisors would be satisfied with that, but, we were wrong yet again! In the end, we still had to go around presenting gifts… Advisor Tao! How many days has it been since the three of us started working in Suppressing Tenth Hall? We've already had to go around handing gifts twice in a row! Do you honestly think that the treasures we fought tooth and nail to obtain back in the Sea of Constellations simply fell from the sky?! It's fine if you want our treasures, but at least try to deliver your promises. All you lot do is take our things but don't do what's asked. And in the end, the problem still fell on our heads. We ended up having ten years' supply of the annual tribute cut off from us! You want us to work for free for ten years? Fine! However, we still have to offer up gifts to our superiors every year. And who can blame them? Everyone knows how rich Subjugation Crusade survivors like us are. Every time someone sees us, they'll be reaching their hands out to demand something. And if we refuse, they'll immediately start slamming tables and make things difficult for us. Do you really think we have an unlimited amount of treasures?! Advisor Tao, me and the others have only just returned from Suppressing Tenth Hall. I haven't even had any time to rest, and I already found you waiting here. And even then, I'm not given any options and is forced to speak the truth. If I don't, you'll kill me. Okay, fine! Now, I'm telling you the truth! Then after this, you and the other higher-ups will be offended by the three of us for calling this place out for what it is. You'll find us an eyesore and come up with a way to make things hard on us again. How far do you want to back the three of us into a corner? I finally see it now, Advisor Tao. I understood everything after speaking to you. You're actually in cahoots with the others too. You all intend to make life miserable for the three of us just because we're new. If your Traversing Water Palace is unwilling to take the three of us in, then please just give us the official decree already. We will find another path on our own. You don't have to keep pushing us around like this!"
"Insolence!" Tao Qingli's handmaidens barked a third time. How dare this man accuse their mistress of colluding with others?
"Can you stop saying insolence for once?! Can't you come up with something new?" Miao Yi immediately retorted.
"You..!" The two handmaidens were furious.
"What about me? It's not like I've never seen powerful individuals before. I've met all ten Palace Lords of the Fifth Earthly Branch, and I've even been in the presence of the Overlord himself! And while I was in the Sea of Constellations, I didn't so much as bat an eye at the sight of bloodshed in every corner. I've slept upon a pile of corpses, bathed in a puddle of blood, fought side-by-side with the disciple of the Celestial Sage, swept the grounds of the Western Constellations Palace. Hell, I've even been in the capital city's prison! I've called the grandson of the Devil Sage my brother and fought against the grandchild of the Yao Sage. Even the Celestial Sage's disciple—Tang Jun, once helped me in my time of need. The people that worked alongside each of the Six Sages, I've met almost every one of them. And even though I've met with certain people who were hard to deal with, I've never seen anyone as difficult as you lot! I can't even pretend to be humble. You're not going to give me the chance to survive anyway. Don't tell me you're going to force me to keep quiet and accept such treatment on top of all that?!" Miao Yi yelled furiously.
Both Tao Qingli's handmaidens were rendered completely speechless, and everyone in the room couldn't help widening their eyes at Miao Yi!
Tao Qingli was a little out of it for a while, but she soon realized her discomposure and quickly snapped out of it. She slowly stood up, staring at Miao Yi as she asked, "So you're blaming me, then?"
Miao Yi cupped his fists and said, "No, I wouldn't dare!"
"What strong resentment! You're already taking out your frustration on me, and you still say you don't dare?" Tao Qingli laughed coldly and said, "Since the three of you are new, I will not hold this incident against you. However, if something like this happens again, I'll make an example out of the three of you by taking your heads!"
"I'm eternally grateful for my lady's benevolence!" Miao Yi continued with cupped fists, "However, I don't think the people from Suppressing Tenth Hall will feel the same way!"
Tao Qingli narrowed her eyes at him and said, "So long as the three of you follow Traversing Water Palace's rules, you can leave Suppressing Tenth Hall to me!"
"Your subordinate shall do his utmost to live up to your expectations!" Still looking a little resentful, Miao Yi continued, "However, there is something I'd like to ask of you, my lady!"
"Since I've already been so blunt with you, I would like to ask, while you're in Suppressing Tenth Hall, could you help me tell those people to return my gifts to me? Since I'll inevitably offend them anyway, why should I let them have anything?!"
The hall instantly fell silent. Tao Qingli emphasized each word as she said, "If you want them back, GET. THEM. YOURSELF!"
Who was this guy kidding? There were certain under-the-table dealings that Tao Qingli simply turned a blind eye to, and this was one of them.
Miao Yi said expressionlessly, "Since Advisor Tao is commanding me to do so, then I have no choice but to heed the order and take everything back from them. I doubt they would dare to go against your word!"
Tao Qingli was a little annoyed, and couldn't help mocking him, "Manor Head Miao, have you no shame asking someone to return something that you've already given to them?"
Miao Yi replied plainly, "My life is almost forfeit anyway. What use do I have for shame?"
Tao Qingli said coldly, "I've already told you that I won't be holding this incident against the three of you. Did you not hear me?" What she meant was—'If I said you're fine, you're fine.'
Miao Yi fell silent. Suddenly, he cupped his fists and said, "If I may be so bold, I would like to ask you for a spirit feather, Advisor Tao! If any of the higher-ups continue to make things difficult for me, then it'll be easier for me to seek guidance from you!"
"Give him one!" Tao Qingli turned to the side and commanded.
One of her handmaidens immediately walked over and gave the rainbow-colored feather of a spirit eagle to Miao Yi.
Miao Yi hurriedly accepted, then turned back and said, "Qian'Er, go bring us a spirit feather."
Qian'Er quickly rushed outside and plucked a rainbow-colored feather off the neck of a spirit eagle resting under the eaves. She then went back inside and handed it over to Miao Yi, who presented it to Tao Qingli with both hands as he said, "Advisor Tao, seeing how well you're treating me, I hereby swear my allegiance to you until death, and shall heed your every command!"
This was more like what a subordinate should be saying! What a melody to the ears! Tao Qingli tilted her head, and one of her handmaidens stepped forward to accept the spirit feather from Miao Yi.
"Take care of yourself, Manor Head Miao!" Tao Qingli said curtly, then left with her two handmaidens in tow.
Miao Yi hurriedly chased after her and said, "Advisor Tao, since you've already come all this way, why not stay here for a few more days? That way, I'll have the chance to thank you properly."
"There's no need. You can thank me by obediently following the rules of our Traversing Water Palace!" said Tao Qingli as she continued walking off.
Miao Yi immediately took out a storage ring and said, "This is a small token of my appreciation. Please accept it, Advisor Tao!"
Tao Qingli's steps halted, and she said plainly, "I wouldn't dare accept your gifts. What if you come looking for me to take them back afterward? Just because you can be shameless, it doesn't mean I can!"
Miao Yi was a little thrown off by Tao Qingli's response. He smiled dryly and said, "How could I possibly do such a thing? This is a gift that I'm sincerely offering of my own accord, unlike the ones that those people forced me to hand over!"
Tao Qingli paid him no heed and simply leaped up to the roof with both her handmaidens. Suddenly, a giant bird with jade-like wings flew over from across the sky. Tao Qingli and her handmaidens jumped onto the bird, then swiftly disappeared into the sky.
As the giant bird soared away, a powerful gale swept across the courtyard. As the wind beat against his body, Miao Yi cupped his fists and shouted, "Have a safe trip, Advisor!"
Standing on the back of the giant bird, with her sleeves fluttering violently in the wind, Tao Qingli had a solemn expression on her face. She never expected the situation amongst the subordinates to be in such a state of chaos. However, when she heard the muffled voice of the person sending her off from down below, she suddenly came to a realization. 'Why does it feel like things didn't go exactly the way I planned them to? I came here demanding answers, yet somehow it feels as though I was the one who had to explain…'
Yan Xiu was standing guard by the gate, while Qian'Er and Xue'Er slowly walked over to Miao Yi's side. Looking at their master quietly standing in the courtyard, the three of them couldn't help thinking to themselves how hard it must be for him to lower his head and compromise like this.
However, what they didn't see was the cunning smile on Miao Yi's lips. He raised the rainbow-colored feather between his fingers and stared intently at it. If Wu Menglan's words were correct, then this Tao Qingli would eventually become the Traversing Water Palace Lord. With the gap between their statuses, it was bound to be difficult for him to establish a connection with such a person through normal means. And since she'd already come all this way, how could he let the opportunity slip? From now on, he'd better look for this Advisor Tao for guidance, regardless if he had any problems!
He then passed the spirit feather in his hands to Qian'Er. After which, he took out a couple of jade archives and started writing. Once he was done, he handed them to Qian'Er and told her to send them to Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei.
Miao Yi then turned around and called Yan Xiu over, telling him, "Tomorrow morning, I want you to make a trip to Suppressing Tenth Hall and look for the three Advisors. Tell them to hand over every single thing I gave them."
"Ah!" shouted Yan Xiu, his eyes widening in shock! 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far