Standing by the gate to the side hall, Fan Zizhang found it difficult to watch as Miao Yi quickly beat Shen Fenghua to a bloody pulp. He couldn't help musing to himself, 'Shen Fenghua, of all the people you could have offended, why did you have to choose to upset the Hall Master's sworn brother?'
Qian'Er and Xue'Er hated Shen Fenghua to the core, so they were quite gratified to see him in such a miserable state.
Yan Xiu laughed bitterly in secret, realizing that Miao Yi was truly not a man that one should easily offend. The guy could even take his revenge all the way out here.
Miao Yi soon realized that something was off. It was no coincidence that the Fat Bastard Shen could make it this far in life. He was quite the ruthless one even to himself. Not only was he not retaliating, but he was even putting up a pitiful display to show his loyalty to the Hall Master, or perhaps just to gain his sympathy. Even though Miao Yi could pummel him hard, it wouldn't be appropriate if he killed one of Huo Lingxiao's men without his permission.
Bang! Miao Yi suddenly sent Shen Fenghua flying off with a kick.
"Puhh…" Shen Fenghua spat out a mouthful of blood and landed in the rockery nearby.
Miao Yi quickly gave chase.
Lying on the ground, Shen Fenghua vomited several more mouthfuls of blood. As he turned around, a murderous glint flitted past his eyes, before turning back into a pitiful gaze as he pleaded for mercy.
'I dare you to keep up the act!' Miao Yi mocked deep down. As he landed, he continued slapping Shen Fenghua. At the same time, he scanned his surroundings. Seeing as there was no one around the rockery, he immediately brandished a Second Grade Wolf Teeth Club Artifact from his storage ring and viciously swung it down at Shen Fenghua's head.
Shen Fenghua was absolutely horrified. He didn't mind suffering a few slaps, but how could he possibly survive against a wolf teeth club. The only reason he was putting up this pitiful display was just so that he could live. If he couldn't survive, then what was the point? The other party was clearly adamant on killing him, and he was even thinking up new ways to achieve his objective!
Whoosh! Despite his fat stature, Shen Fenghua was surprisingly light on his feet. He rolled along the ground and scrambled up, then leaped up from the rockery.
"AH!" Suddenly, a scream came from down below. "Bastard! How dare you ambush me!"
Still in mid-air, Shen Fenghua looked back to see Miao Yi suddenly lying on the ground for some reason. Worse yet, Shen Fenghua saw Miao Yi quickly rubbing something onto the corner of his lips; it was the blood Shen Fenghua had spat out on the ground. Miao Yi then examined himself in the mirror.
Shen Fenghua's eyes immediately widened in horror.
The people outside were startled by the sound of Miao Yi's scream. They then saw a violent gray fog gush out from amidst the rockery, enveloping the sky-borne Shen Fenghua within.
The temperature in the courtyard quickly plummeted, causing everyone to feel chills. Like a whip, the violent wave of gray fog retreated to the rockery, and Shen Fenghua crashed to the ground like a statue. They then saw Miao Yi leaping out from the rockery, raising a wolf teeth club in his hands before he viciously swung it down.
"Little Brother! Wait—" Huo Lingxiao cried out, but he was too late!
Bang! Miao Yi turned a deaf ear to Huo Lingxiao's pleas and ruthlessly slammed down, his wolf teeth club crushing Shen Fenghua's skull into pieces. There was no saving him now.
With his hand raised to stop Miao Yi, Huo Lingxiao's expression darkened. He slowly lowered it back down and gently dispersed the transcendence energy he had gathered around his fingers. The man was already dead; it was too late to say anything anymore.
The courtyard was in utter silence. Everyone was just too amazed by the sudden turn of events that they had yet to even realize what just happened.
Miao Yi stuck the wolf teeth club to the ground, gasping for air as he pointed to Shen Fenghua and said furiously, "This bastard was only pretending to look pathetic, when in truth he was trying to ambush me. What a devious man!"
Seeing the blood on the corner of Miao Yi's mouth, Qian'Er, Xue'Er, and Yan Xiu were all greatly startled and quickly rushed to his side. "Master! Are you alright?"
"I'm fine! I'm a man who carved out a path of blood through 180,000 cultivators back in the Sea of Constellations. What manner of trickery haven't I seen already? What could Shen Fenghua's puny little ploys possibly do to me? All it made me do was spit out a couple of mouthfuls of blood!" Miao Yi scoffed. He tucked the wolf teeth club away and wiped the blood on the corner of his mouth with his sleeve. He was a truly valiant man indeed.
However, in truth, it was because the blood by his lips was simply too suspicious. Anyone could tell the difference between blood that came from the person himself, and blood that was rubbed onto his face. Even Qian'Er and Xue'Er noticed the discrepancy and swallowed their initial concern back down their throats. How could Miao Yi not rub it off quickly then?
'Shen Fenghua died just like that?' Still in shock, Fan Zizhang turned his eyes around a couple of times as he mused, 'Why do I feel as though things aren't that simple?!'
Tian Yu and Liu Xing were at a loss for words. The two of them could clearly tell that Huo Lingxiao wished to keep Shen Fenghua alive. However, everything had happened too suddenly. Perhaps even the Hall Master himself had never thought that Miao Yi would kill Shen Fenghua right in front of his face without even getting his permission. Otherwise, with the Hall Master's cultivation, there was no way he would've allowed Miao Yi to succeed.
Huo Lingxiao slowly walked over. He quietly stared at Shen Fenghua's corpse and noticed the headless, frost-covered body was somehow emitting plumes of black smoke under the rays of the sun. It was a very peculiar death indeed.
He then proceeded to the edge of the rockery and looked inside. Noticing the bloodstains on the ground showed signs of being rubbed off, he immediately connected it to the oddly suspicious blood marks on Miao Yi's lips. Having understood everything, Huo Lingxiao slowly turned his head back to look at Miao Yi and said indifferently, "Little Brother, you have some ability indeed!"
Miao Yi immediately said via voice transmission, "Big Brother, you truly are observant. There is no hiding these tiny little tricks of mine from your eyes. I know that it's hard for you to make a move against one of your own subordinates just because of me. If word spreads out, the others will mistakenly think you were being biased. That's why, to avoid your subordinates losing faith in you, I quickly devised a simple plan to rid this despicable vermin!"
'You're quite the honest one!' Huo Lingxiao was a little annoyed, but alas, Shen Fenghua was already dead. There was no use saying anything anymore, and no point trying to do anything for someone who was already dead.
It was not hard for Huo Lingxiao to make up his mind on which choice he should make now. He walked back, asking, "Little Brother, may I know what transcendent artifact you used to kill Shen Fenghua just now?"
Miao Yi immediately took out the Mystic Yin Mirror and handed it over, saying, "It's something I took from a Ghost cultivator back in the Sea of Constellations. In Big Brother's eyes, it's probably just a little trinket."
Huo Lingxiao was slightly surprised as he didn't think Miao Yi would be so generous and let him see it. He quickly flipped it over and examined it, and as he did, his body abruptly turned stiff. A layer of white frost quickly enveloped his body, emitting strange plumes of black smoke under the sunlight.
"Master!" Tian Yu and Liu Xing exclaimed in shock as they rushed forward. Because the state of Huo Lingxiao's body was exactly the same as Shen Fenghua's, they thought that he had fallen into a trap.
Suddenly, while he was still covered in frost, Huo Lingxiao raised his hand and stopped the two ladies.
Bang! Huo Lingxiao's body suddenly shook, and the frost surrounding him crumbled to the ground. He opened his mouth and spat out a breath of cold air, then continued to examine the Mystic Yin Mirror as if nothing had happened, lowering his head and repeatedly flipping the transcendent artifact around.
Deep down, Miao Yi was shocked. The reason why he had readily handed it over to Huo Lingxiao was because he knew that the latter would try to examine the mysteries within the Mystic Yin Mirror. Miao Yi wished to see how the Mystic Yin Mirror fared against Red Lotus realm experts. However, he never thought that it would have no effect whatsoever against experts at Huo Lingxiao's level.
"This is a powerful treasure indeed!" A sense of desire flitted past Huo Lingxiao's eyes. However, he immediately felt a little confused and raised his head to ask curiously, "Little Brother, you're able to wield this artifact?"
Miao Yi nodded and said, "There's a trick to using this particular artifact, but I hope you'll allow me to keep this information secret for now. However, if Big Brother is fond of it…"
Huo Lingxiao's eyes brightened, believing that the other party was going to give this transcendent artifact to him. If that were the case, it wouldn't be nice of him to refuse. At most, he would just show a little reluctance, then very naturally, accept the gift.
Contrary to his expectations, however, Miao Yi suddenly said, "Big Brother, my cultivation is feeble, and for the time being, I will still need this transcendent artifact to establish my footing. When I have firmly established myself in my new Manor, I will give this to you as a gift!"
Even though his words were meant to please the other party, in truth it served no purpose whatsoever. Given the situation in the cultivation realm, what constituted as 'establishing a footing'? Miao Yi didn't plan on giving Huo Lingxiao the Mystic Yin Mirror in the first place, not even as a meeting gift. 'You sent me to my death in the Sea of Constellations, and you still want me to thank you with gifts?'
Huo Lingxiao was speechless, feeling as though his excitement had been for nothing. However, the other party's words had made it very clear. As the older brother, how could Huo Lingxiao try to take the thing that his little brother needed for survival? With so many people looking at him, how would he have his subordinates view him later on? Huo Lingxiao was a proud man after all. Otherwise, he wouldn't have sent Miao Yi to the Sea of Constellations in the first place.
Hiding his awkwardness with a laugh, Huo Lingxiao placed the Mystic Yin Mirror back in Miao Yi's hands. With a wave of his hand, he then said, "As the Big Brother, I don't have anything I can give to you. How could I take my Little Brother's things instead?"
"You have a point! With Big Brother's position, you wouldn't deign to fancy such a measly thing. I was too imprudent!" Miao Yi nodded. He didn't hold back and immediately tucked the Mystic Yin Mirror away. Noticing a fleeting gloominess in Huo Lingxiao's eyes as he cast a sidelong glance at Shen Fenghua's body, Miao Yi quietly mused for a bit, then suddenly asked, "Big Brother! Where is Sister-in-Law? After our last meeting on Jade Lake in the capital city—"
How could something like this be discussed publicly? Startled, Huo Lingxiao quickly interrupted Miao Yi, "Little Brother, let's talk inside." He then smiled and dragged Miao Yi by the wrist back into the main hall.
As the two of them sat down, Huo Lingxiao extended his arm and said, "Shen Fenghua has already been executed. You can let this matter rest now, Little Brother. Have some tea!"
"The tea can wait. I still haven't given Sister-in-Law—"
'Again?!' Huo Lingxiao cut him off a second time. "Little Brother!"
Miao Yi had a puzzled look on his face, as though trying to ask— 'Why do you keep interrupting me?'
The helplessness was evident on Huo Lingxiao's face as he warned gravely, "Little Brother, that person isn't your Sister-in-Law. For the time being, you don't have a Sister-in-Law. Never mention anything about this again, lest you wish to invite calamity upon yourself. This is all I can tell you!"
Miao Yi couldn't help feeling confused as he thought, 'That woman was already lying in your embrace. What more do you have to be afraid of?' He then remembered that Wu Menglan was also quite reluctant to discuss this person during the journey to the Sea of Constellations back then. What kind of person was that woman, that she could make these two Hall Masters so fearful of her?
Miao Yi grew even more curious about her identity. However, since Huo Lingxiao had already made it very clear that they shouldn't be talking about this topic, it wouldn't be appropriate of him to ask any further. He definitely wouldn't be able to get any answers out of Huo Lingxiao anyway.
Miao Yi intentionally tried to creep Huo Lingxiao out, asking, "Big Brother, are you afraid that Hall Master Wu will get jealous if she knows?"
Huo Lingxiao was taken aback, puzzled as to why Miao Yi would say such a thing. He then remembered that he once mentioned that he was trying to woo Wu Menglan back in East Arrival Cave.
He didn't wish to discuss this topic with Miao Yi any further, as he didn't think the latter had the qualifications to talk about such things with him. Had this kid not gained the favor of that esteemed person in Traversing Moon Palace, Huo Lingxiao wouldn't even deign to meet up with him, much less be sitting here sharing his private life. He quickly changed the topic…
However, Miao Yi just wouldn't read between the lines, much to his chagrin, and would always turn the conversation around after a while. He would say that as a brother, he was concerned about Huo Lingxiao's love life, as though he truly felt that way inside. Huo Lingxiao felt as though he was going to go insane from Miao Yi's pestering. Unable to take it any longer, he hurriedly found an excuse to get Miao Yi to leave.
In truth, Miao Yi also didn't want to stay here just to compete and see which of them was the better liar.
Eventually, both parties bade farewell to one another. Huo Lingxiao had 'matters' to attend to, so he had Tian Yu and Liu Xing escort Miao Yi out on his behalf.
Back in the main hall, Huo Lingxiao gave Fan Zizhang a brutal scolding.
Upon reaching the main entrance of the palace, Miao Yi looked around him and suddenly came to a stop. He took out two low-grade Orbs of Will, handing each to Qian'Er and Xue'Er as he pointed to the two guards posted by either side of the gate, and said loudly, "The Hall Master is my sworn older brother, and they are his loyal subordinates. I should reward them!"
There were only two low-grade Orbs of Will, and they had to be handed out to two people, no less. Could they really hand out such a paltry amount inside Suppressing Second Hall? Qian'Er and Xue'Er felt a little embarrassed, but they still did as instructed.
The two guards looked at Tian Yu and Liu Xing in confusion, unsure of whether they should accept the gift or not.
There was no describing the expressions on the two Aunties' faces. They laughed drily and nodded to the two guards to accept the gift, grumbling deep down, 'Is this guy afraid that everyone else won't know the Hall Master is his sworn older brother or something?'