Soaring The Heavens - Chapter 24
Chapter 24: Tenth Surrender
’’That mount belongs to the Cave Master, so Brother Miao must not neglect it.’’
Shi Xiang pointed towards a valiant, yet exceptionally gaudy, yellow dragon steed. He watched Miao Yi's reaction as he advised him in a careful manner, thinking that Miao Yi would not be happy doing such a menial task.
But all this was nothing to Miao Yi. He had always been very interested in dragon steeds and so he was looking forward to having the opportunity to get close to them.
Seeing that Miao Yi did not show any signs of being upset, Shi Xiang secretly let out a sigh of relief. He was afraid that Miao Yi would be offended and complain to Cao Dingfeng. In his anger, he would seek both Shi Xiang and his wife for punishment.
’’Actually, you do not need to let the dragon steeds out everyday. Once every five days is enough since after all, we still prioritise cultivation.’’ Shi Xiang smiled as he consoled him.
Miao Yi nodded his head.
After chatting about dragon steeds for a while, Miao Yi found out that the role of Horse Deputy had previously been handled by Madame Shi Xiang, so this was already considered to be a handover.
After completing the handover, Madame Shi Xiang left with a straight face.
Shi Xiang then accompanied Miao Yi back to his cultivation residence, mainly explaining the Transient Light Cave's situation to Miao Yi. His explanation was a form of introduction, as briefed by Cao Dingfeng.
Inclusive of the Cave Master, there were a total of eleven people in Transient Light Cave. Cave Master, Yuan Zhengkun, had a cultivation at White Lotus Fifth Grade. Cao Dingfeng and the other two cultivators who had their cultivation at White Lotus Third Grade were Yuan Zhengkun's capable right-hand men. Even Shi Xiang and his wife had their cultivation at White Lotus Third Grade. The remaining four cultivators were at White Lotus Second Grade. Only Miao Yi alone had a cultivation at the first grade of White Lotus.
The average 'cave' level allocation has always been eleven people, mainly because there weren't enough resources to accommodate more. It was important to know that for every person accepted, they must divide the allocation of followers' incense and power of will.
Currently, both of them were conversing with each other in a courtyard pavilion. Madame Shi Xiang soon returned, with two nervous, beautiful maidens trailing behind her.
’’These two servant girls are sent here from Transient Light City by Cao Dingfeng to serve your daily needs,’’ Madame Shi Xiang uttered to Miao Yi with an expressionless face.
’’Serve me...’’ Miao Yi glanced over at the two beautiful maidens who had their heads lowered. He still wasn't used to this kind of treatment. Mainly because he had never properly come into contact with women before this, so it was inevitable that he was embarrassed, like a lad's first time. He couldn't help but turn his attention to Shi Xiang, asking, ’’So every cultivator has some?’’
If every cultivator had servants taking care of their daily needs, he would simply push the boat with the current and accept it, else it would be quite embarrassing.
Shi Xiang chuckled awkwardly, not saying a word.
Madame Shi Xiang sarcastically said, ’’We don't have the sort of life where we can order servant girls around to serve us. It's good enough that we ourselves don't get ordered around.’’
’’....’’ Stunned, Miao Yi finally realized that although the husband and wife's cultivation base was the same as Cao Dingfeng, only second to the Cave Master's, yet their statuses seemed to be far apart in comparison. Cao Dingfeng still ordered the both of them around as he pleased.
Shi Xiang rubbed his nose, anxious to keep up appearances as he said, ’’Every cultivator in the cave will have two handmaidens. Since the two of us are married, if we keep a few handmaidens at our side, what if one day I couldn't restrain myself from being affectionate with them? Wouldn't it cause our marriage to fall apart? Thus, I gave them up to someone else.’’
Miao Yi chuckled, thinking to himself that it turned out Shi Xiang was afraid of his wife.
As he was about to accept the two handmaidens, who knew Madame Shi Xiang would suddenly glare at Shi Xiang, pointing and shouting in a fit of rage. ’’You good-for-nothing, stop putting feathers in your own cap! It was obvious that you're being looked down upon by others, so you couldn't even hold back the handmaidens who were given to us! You have the nerve to say you gave them up to someone else? If you have the guts to, then snatch the handmaidens from them! Even if you give your affections to ten handmaidens, I would pretend I never see it!’’
Shi Xiang smiled weakly and didn't utter another word.
Miao Yi was shocked to hear such an inside story. Both of them had a cultivation at White Lotus Third Grade, but didn't even have handmaidens, whereas he himself with a mere cultivation at first grade was given two handmaidens. It seemed a little... He hurriedly tried to diffuse the awkward situation, ’’Big Brother Cao treats me with kindness. I'd rather give these two handmaidens to Big Brother Cao, instead.’’
Shi Xiang and his wife were both taken aback at the same time. Madame Shi Xiang's eyes flickered as she said, ’’Since he has already sent them to you, just accept his goodwill. Having someone by your side to help you do menial chores can save you a lot of trouble.’’
Miao Yi shook his head, got to his feet and said to the two handmaidens, ’’Follow me.’’
When Shi Xiang saw the two handmaidens trailing behind him compliantly, he panicked, instantly shouting, ’’Brother Miao, don't...’’
The glare Madame Shi Xiang sent towards her husband immediately shut him up.
To Madame Shi Xiang, when others had taken away their own handmaidens, they were simply looking down on them and belittling their position, and so she was unable to stomach it. But if there were seriously two beautiful handmaidens by her husband's side, she really wouldn't feel at ease.
After Miao Yi left with the two handmaidens, Madame Shi Xiang pursed her lips and said, ’’He didn't want to have the two handmaidens by his side because it would humiliate us, so he sent them away. He's a good kid!’’
Handmaidens who were sent to serve cultivators had to place their lives in the hands of those cultivators. Apart from doing menial chores, cultivators had the right to do what they wanted with their handmaidens, so naturally the more the better, with many hoping to have beautiful women gathered like clouds from all directions.
When Miao Yi sent the two handmaidens to Cao Dingfeng's side, Cao Dingfeng naturally declined the offer, but seeing Miao Yi sincerely insisting on it, he kindly accepted them. His perception towards Miao Yi had increased for reasons other than being acquainted with Chen Fei. He personally went to see Miao Yi out, not forgetting to urge Miao Yi to find him directly if there was anything he needed.
During his journey back to his cultivation residence, Miao Yi gradually realized that it might seriously be inconvenient in the future to be lacking two handmaidens, since he was left doing his own menial chores now. At least his cultivation had not advanced to the state that he could cast away the desire of good food. Now, it looked like he would need to deal with everything by himself, regardless of how trivial, just like when he cultivated on the island.
After returning to his residence, Shi Xiang was still waiting for him and then cheerfully dragged Miao Yi to attend a banquet at their place.
Madame Shi Xiang had personally prepared a table full of delicious delicacies to serve, for which Miao Yi naturally thanked her for.
But as the words 'Madame Shi Xiang' left his mouth, he immediately noticed that Madame Shi Xiang's expression had darkened considerably. Miao Yi naturally wanted to find out the reason why. ’’Madame doesn't seem to like being addressed as Madame Shi Xiang. Could it be that I have offended you by mistake?’’
’’You don't know the inner story so you cannot be blamed for it.’’ Madame Shi Xiang didn't hide the truth from him, because Miao Yi would know about it sooner or later. Rather than letting him find out afterwards and being looked down upon by him, she would be better off coming clean of her own accord and reveal the truth to him now.
Apparently, 'Shi Xiang' was a completely humiliating and satirizing form of address. Shi Xiang's real name was Yan Xiu and Madame Shi Xiang's real name was Luo Zhen.
They were both the most senior members in Transient Light Cave. The Cave Master and the members of Transient Light Cave had all changed, one after another, yet only these two had always remained.
When the enemy attacked Transient Light Cave, husband and wife turned up but did not exert themselves. Afterwards, when the cave's forces suffered a defeat at the hands of the enemy, both husband and wife surrendered. And the current Cave Master, Yuan Zhengkun, had only just conquered the Transient Light Cave about a month ago, taking up all of its territory.
For the sake of saving their own skin, both husband and wife once again surrendered to Yuan Zhengkun, and already it counted as their tenth surrender.
They had made a name for themselves for surrendering countless times. No one in Transient Light Cave thought highly of them anymore. Hence, they were ridiculed and humiliatingly were called 'Shi Xiang' and 'Madame Shi Xiang'.
十降 [shíxiáng] - A derogatory nickname which means 'Tenth Surrender'. When heard in passing, it sounds like an actual name so Miao Yi thought nothing of it.