"Why are you screaming?" Miao Yi said curiously, then continued, "I can't trust anyone else to do this! Once you get them back, you can go ahead and keep them. I'd much rather leave them with you than with those bastards!"
He didn't give a damn about how Xu Jinsong and the others would think of him. They would eventually find out that he'd secretly allied himself to all three of them either way. When that happened, they sure as hell wouldn't treat him nicely. If Tao Qingli hadn't come looking for him, then he'd just let them have all those treasures. However, since she did, that meant that Miao Yi would be cutting ties with those Advisors ahead of time. In that case, why wait for them to make things difficult for him? He should just be the one to make the first move. Otherwise, he would surely feel annoyed at having to suffer the Advisors' tantrums and being unable to take back his stuff on top of that.
If this were anywhere else, Miao Yi definitely wouldn't be bold enough to do such a thing. After all, the three Advisors were already experts at the Red Lotus realm. Normally, the Advisors of this rank wouldn't dare lay a hand on a subordinate Manor Head, but they could still manipulate one of their men to try and take away that Manor Head's territory. Just like how Zhang Decheng had attacked Yang Qing. Such methods would surely make one anxious about their next move. However, there was no need to worry about any of this here, precisely because battles were strictly forbidden. As such, why should Miao Yi be afraid of these guys at all?!
"Master! Isn't it a little inappropriate to take back something that you've already given away?" Yan Xiu asked hesitantly, "It's too shameful to do such a thing. I can live without those gifts, and if word starts to spread, I don't want it to reflect badly on you, Master."
"Yan Xiu! Since when did you learn to disobey my commands as well? I haven't been treating you poorly, have I?" Miao Yi placed both hands behind his back, then continued in dissatisfaction, "If it wasn't shameful, then I would've already done the deed myself. It's precisely because it's shameful that I'm sending you over. Do you want me to go and bring dishonor upon myself, or are you going to do it for me?"
"..." Yan Xiu had no words to refute. He smiled bitterly and replied, "I will do as you say! However… the three of them are still Red Lotus cultivators. What if they refuse to hand the things over?"
"Yan Xiu! You've been my subordinate for so many years now. After listening in on the conversation just now, do you still not understand what I'm trying to do? Those three bastards are definitely going to cut all ties with me. It's not as simple as just getting back my things; I want you to also mention that Advisor Tao's name. Just tell those three that she demanded I take everything back from them. They won't dare to disobey. If I keep quiet and just let them have all that treasure, they will surely use everything at their disposal to make life miserable for me. On the other hand, if I take my gifts back, they wouldn't dare to recklessly act against me. If they do, then people will start thinking they're doing it out of resentment. Didn't you see me ask for a spirit feather from Advisor Tao? If those three ever attempt to make the slightest transgression against me, I will lodge a complaint immediately. I will tell Advisor Tao that they're taking revenge against me for getting back my gifts. This is what you call an excuse. Understand?"
Yan Xiu finally understood how important his mission was. He immediately cupped his fists and replied, "I understand. I will definitely get them to return the gifts."
"It's not enough to just get them to return the gifts. If they don't return them, then you must know how to throw a tantrum and exacerbate the situation at Suppressing Tenth Hall. Do the same if the gifts are any less than what I've already given to them. And even if they do return everything, you have to make sure news of this is known by every living person in Suppressing Tenth Hall." Seeing how Yan Xiu still had difficulty understanding his intentions, Miao Yi had no choice but to explain it clearly to him. He continued, "You won't be the only one going this time. I just sent a message to Zhao Fei and Sikong Wuwei and told them to send one of their trusted aides as well. However, there are some things that cannot be explicitly stated in the letter, out of fear that it will fall into the wrong hands. When you meet up with them, make sure to explain my intentions to them clearly. Otherwise, they won't have enough confidence to do this."
"Understood!" Yan Xiu nodded. Once he made sure there were no further instructions, he excused himself.
After leaving Raincloud Manor, Tao Qingli headed straight for Suppressing Tenth Hall and gave Xu Jinsong, Ji Ze, and Huang Jizhang the scolding of a lifetime the moment she set foot there. It basically went as follows: 'I've never seen anything so ridiculous in my entire career! How could you three imbeciles try to force so many of your men down to them in one go?! How do expect them to make the arrangements? Are you trying to make them start a rebellion?!'
And with their personally-written jade archives slapped right on their faces, the three Advisors found it hard to dispute against Tao Qingli. Regardless of their reasoning, they were irrefutably in the wrong now that the superiors had caught wind of their involvement. It was pointless no matter what they said.
The three of them could do little but curse to themselves,
'Those bastards! It's bad enough to be colluding with multiple parties simultaneously, but those assholes actually tried to join all three of our camps! And they even had the gall to tattle on us on top of that! How frustrating!'
'Worse still, that bastard from Raincloud Manor actually framed us for forcing them to attack Tranquil Sun Manor! That's not what he said when we were questioning them! Still, we can't talk about that openly either. Otherwise, Advisor Tao will surely blame us for not leading our case with that, and for even helping them escape their charges.'
'You three bastards better look out for yourselves from now on. There's plenty of time for us to make you suffer after this!'
The three Advisors couldn't complain no matter how badly they wanted to, and thus simply cursed deep down!
Meanwhile, Shen Huaixin's position was a little more superior. After all, he was the Hall Master. The whole of Suppressing Tenth Hall was his domain. As such, he was not chastised as badly as the three Advisors and was simply reprimanded for not managing his subordinates properly.
However, even when she left Suppressing Tenth Hall, Tao Qingli made no mention of the incident with the three Advisors receiving gifts from Miao Yi and the others, as there were some things she simply turned a blind eye to. If the three Advisors hadn't made such a debacle this time, she probably wouldn't have said anything at all...
Mulberry Cloud Manor. Sikong Wuwei was pacing around his courtyard with a jade archive in hand. He walked inside the pavilion, sat down, then opened up the jade archive and read through it. He scratched his head, then got up and returned to the hall. He sat down on his chair, then started scratching his head again.
Seeing how puzzled he looked, his handmaidens—Yu Fang and Yu Lian—walked over and asked, "Master, is something the matter?"
"I don't get it at all!" exclaimed Sikong Wuwei as he shook his head. He clicked his tongue and gestured towards the jade archive. "I don't want to let those assholes keep my treasures either, but to take back something you've already given away... Wouldn't I end up a laughingstock once people hear about this? When have I, Sikong Wuwei, ever done something so shameful? What exactly is Brother Miao thinking?"
Thousand Lake Manor. As he sat before the tray table, Zhao Fei also had a look of confusion on his face. He had one hand on the jade archive, while lightly tapping the fingers of his other hand against the table in thought. He also had no idea what Miao Yi was trying to achieve.
However, as they both trusted Miao Yi, they knew that he must have some sort of plan in mind. In the end, they both did as he asked and sent out their trusted aides...
Suppressing Tenth Hall, inside Advisor Xu's manor. A single cultivator walked inside the main hall and bowed. Xu Jinsong raised his hand and said, "Liu Fen, sit down and talk!"
"I thank you, my lord!" Liu Fen the cultivator said politely, then sat down on one of the lower chairs in the hall.
Xu Jinsong smiled and said, "Oh, Liu Fen! Didn't you tell me last time that you didn't wish to go to Raincloud Manor? I gave it some thought after that, and I have to agree. Raincloud Manor is much too disorganized. You should go to Tranquil Sun Manor instead! I've already helped secure a Mountain Chieftain's seat for you. Heh heh! Truth be told, with your cultivation level, you are definitely suitable to be Manor Head. However, just bear with it for now. You'll have plenty more chances in the future."
As he said this, Xu Jinsong waited for the other party's words of gratitude. Contrary to his expectations, however, Liu Fen looked rather hesitant instead. Xu Jinsong's expression quickly darkened. "What? Are you not satisfied?"
"No, not at all!" Liu Fen hurriedly waved his hands and continued, "My lord, I'm in no rush. Why don't you make arrangements for the others first? I can wait."
Deep down, Liu Fen was thinking, 'Who would dare go to Tranquil Sun Manor?! That place has just been swept clean of its members from top to bottom! And even now, the three masterminds are safe and sound, and still lurking around Tranquil Sun Manor like a predator waiting to strike. Even though they're already forbidden from dividing Tranquil Sun Manor amongst themselves, but what if one day the blood goes to their heads and they decide to paint the whole place red again?! When that happens, there won't even be a chance to cry for mercy. No matter how good the benefits are, they don't weigh more than life itself!'
Xu Jinsong's expression gradually worsened. Normally, these guys would be fawning over him to try and get a better position for themselves, but now they were all shirking away. This was already the second person to reject him. Xu Jinsong was no fool. How could he not figure out the reason why?
Just as he was about to scold this spineless subordinate of his, one of his handmaidens walked in and reported, "Master! Raincloud Manor, Thousand Lake Manor, and Mulberry Cloud Manor have sent people over, and they're requesting an audience with you!"
"I haven't even begun to show them who's boss. To think they still have the gall to come and meet me!" Xu Jinsong was immediately infuriated. He vented out some of his frustration on Liu Fen and said, "You're excused! I'll have you know that an opportunity like this only comes around once. You'd best think it through!"
Liu Fen timidly stepped down.
Soon, Yan Xiu, Lian Babai, and Zhang Yaocheng stepped in. The other two were Zhao Fei's and Sikong Wuwei's trusted aides respectively.
Naturally, Xu Jinsong wouldn't bother being polite with them at all. With a cold look on his face, he said, "State your business!"
The three of them each handed over a jade archive. As he read through them, Xu Jinsong didn't really understand what they meant, so he asked, "What is this supposed to mean?"
Yan Xiu cupped his fists and replied, "In accordance with the official decree of Traversing Water Palace's Advisor Tao, the Manor Head has ordered the three of us to take back the gifts that were presented to you!"
"..." Xu Jinsong was completely wide-eyed in astonishment. He remained speechless for a while before his face quickly darkened like the bottom of a wok.
His handmaidens were also lost for words. Where was the logic in taking back a gift you've already given out...
As Yan Xiu and the others walked out, they turned back to look at Xu Jinsong's manor. They then heard the sound of something shattering coming from inside.
The three of them looked at each other weakly. Yan Xiu then raised his hand and said, "Let's move on. We still have to visit two more!"
After the three of them exited Advisor Ji's and Advisor Huang's manors, they proceeded to move around Suppressing Tenth Hall for a while.
When the three of them finally left Suppressing Tenth Hall on their mounts, the whole place instantly erupted like a volcano.
The gifts that were offered to the three Advisors were taken back. It was easy to imagine how fast the news of such a major incident would spread.
Suppressing Tenth Hall's Little Auntie Ru Huan hurriedly rushed into the Hall Master's silent quarters to report the situation.
As he sat in cultivation, Shen Huaixin was shocked by the news. He then asked, "Did they come looking for us to take back their things as well?"
Ru Huan shook her head and said, "No, they've already left."
Shen Huaixin was slightly relieved, but his expression reflected his displeasure. He said, "Those three are getting more and more out of hand. Do they think I'm merely a piece of decoration?! If I don't teach them a lesson and make them shape up a little, who knows what kind of mess they'll stir up in the future?!"
Two days later, Thousand Lake Manor, Mulberry Cloud Manor, and Raincloud Manor received an official decree at the same time, stating that the forces they had each sent to protect Tranquil Sun Manor did not have to return any longer, as those troops would be permanently stationed as Tranquil Sun Manor's new forces. This meant that the three Manors were effectively stripped of six hundred men in a single stroke.
Miao Yi and the others could do little but accept the decree. After all, they were the ones who completely decimated Tranquil Sun Manor to begin with. They couldn't just let the place sit vacant for too long. What excuse could they possibly give to decline having their forces taken away?
That was not the end of it either. A few days later, the forces in all the Manors were forced to undergo restructuring. The reason given was that some members would easily develop a certain attachment to their daily lives after being stationed in a place for too long, and thus necessitated a periodic circulation of every Manors' troops. Therefore, a total of six hundred troops were taken away from the other six Manors besides Miao Yi and the others' to replenish Tranquil Sun Manor's forces.
At first, Miao Yi and the others thought that they wouldn't be involved in all this. However, another decree came a few days later commanding each of the three Manors to transfer two hundred of their men respectively to make up for the six hundred that were previously stationed away in the other six Manors. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far
Yan Xiu thought he must have misheard. To get back the gifts that were already given, this was a little…