The Lady Boss was pleased with his words. "You sure are a strange child! Whoever has a subordinate like you really has some rotten luck. I didn't even have to force anything out of you. You've already sold out the organization backing you of your own volition!"
"How am I selling out my organization?"
"If you don't think of this as selling them out, then what is?"
"My actions will not cause any harm to anyone. Not to you, nor to the organization behind me. Moreover, it allows me to ensure my safety. To put it bluntly, I'm different from you. You can sit here and drink everyday, either celebrating your happy moments or drowning your sad ones in liquor. I, on the other hand, don't have the ability to indulge in such a life. I can only work my hardest so that I, and the people beside me, can stay alive and well. After all, I'm only made of flesh and blood. I have my own emotions, my own troubles... However, I can only keep all these feelings in my heart, because I'm nothing but an insignificant weakling. I don't have the leisure to waste my time on these things. I need to face every single thing in my life with all seriousness."
The wine flask in the Lady Boss's hand came to a halt just before her lips. She stared dazedly at Miao Yi, and from the gently fleeting look in her eyes, it seemed his words had hit her soft spot.
She then gulped down a mouthful of wine and after which, placed the flask down on the round log. She smiled and asked, "You mentioned that your mission should've been completed a month ago. What sort of mission was it?"
Miao Yi brows furrowed slightly. "That is not something that I can tell you. Firstly, it has nothing to do with you. Secondly, if I do tell you, then I would really end up becoming a traitor who sold out his own organization."
"Oh wow! So you have a bottom line after all." The Lady Boss placed her elbow on her knee, resting her chin above it. She smiled and continued, "Then let me guess, does it have something to do with the Netherdragon Ship?"
Miao Yi blankly replied, "Lady Boss, you sure have a vivid imagination."
The Lady Boss continued to smile, ignoring Miao Yi's reply as she asked, "You said you completed your mission. Were you the one who discovered the Netherdragon Ship?"
Miao Yi smiled bitterly. "Lady Boss, why do you insist that I have something to do with the Netherdragon Ship? We're two completely separate matters altogether. I don't mind telling you this much. My mission here had nothing to do with the Netherdragon Ship at all. To me, the Netherdragon Ship is practically the stuff of legends. I don't even know what it looks like. To be honest, I do wish to lay my eyes on it some day, but stuff like that is just too far off for a nobody like me to reach."
Hearing the seriousness in his tone, the Lady Boss couldn't help musing, 'Could I have been mistaken?' She brushed her hair aside and said, "Fine, then we'll move on from this topic! Right now, the whole tavern is incredibly busy, and we're lacking a set of hands. If you work here as an employee, you'll get ten Orbs of Will a day. The payment will be handed to you once a month. You don't have to pester me about your background either. It means nothing to me. When your mission is finished and you want to go back, you can just leave. I won't stop you. Otherwise, I'll really have to kick you out of the tavern this instant. The Innkeeper wasn't joking with you. We can't have a guest continue to stay in our storeroom. If we were to allow something like that, then once people hear about it, our regulars will want to find similar loopholes in the future. That will mess up the rules of my tavern. It won't be fair if we were to just help you alone and not anyone else."
Miao Yi was lost for words. He asked, "I already told you that I'm sent here to keep tabs on you. And yet you still dare to hire me?"
"Big deal. Your organization isn't the only one who wants to keep an eye on me. Feel free to spy on me as much as you want. I have nothing to do with all those nonsensical struggles for power. I simply go about my social affairs as how I believe they should be handled. Complicated people always like to make things seem more difficult than they actually are, thinking that there's always a hidden agenda to everything when there isn't even any to begin with." The Lady Boss narrowed her eyes at him and continued, "I've already said this much. Do you honestly think of yourself as such a precious commodity? I've given you enough face already. Stop playing coy!"
"I'm honestly not trying to play coy! Your tavern is just too busy. All I want to do is coop myself up in the tavern and cultivate. If I were to become an employee, when will I be able to do that? I doubt the rowdiness here would recede anytime soon. God knows how many more years the madness around the Netherdragon Ship will continue to persist. If it's just a passing trend, then I wouldn't mind…" As he said this, Miao Yi's eyes suddenly gleamed, as though something just came to mind. He said excitedly, "Lady Boss, didn't you say you need more manpower? I know two very suitable candidates that I can introduce to you."
The Lady Boss narrowed her eyes at him frustratingly as she thought, 'Do you really think anyone can just waltz into my tavern?!' However, she kept her cool and said blankly, "Tell me more."
"They're both Yao cultivators who I met back in the Subjugation Crusade, but because they fought alongside me, they ended up offending Bai Ziliang, the grandson of Yao Sage Ji Huan. As a result, they didn't dare to stay in the Yao Nation any longer, and escaped all the way here to Flowing Clouds Dune Sea. They hid themselves here for many years, and had even stayed in your tavern for a time. They ended up giving you almost all the wealth they brought back from the Subjugation Crusade."
"Are they the two guys who brought you back here after your battle with those two assassins?"
"That's right. They're the ones. The two of them don't have any sort of background, and are definitely reliable. If you don't mind the fact that they are Yao cultivators, why don't you take them in and let them make a living for themselves? If you agree, then I'll call them over right now and let you see them for yourself."
The Lady Boss tilted her head slightly. "You sure know how to think for someone else's sake! But first, let's talk about the issue with you first."
Miao Yi asked with a confused tone, "Weren't you lacking manpower?" He was implying that he had already found two candidates for her.
"If I really planned to just take in anyone, why would I need any recommendations from you? I can have as many as I want!"
"It's not that! Lady Boss, those two guys are really suitable to be your employees. Just make it easy on yourself and take them in. They've really had it rough…" Miao Yi patiently tried to convince her.
The Lady Boss placed a hand up before her lips and yawned. She said, "Seeing as how you're being this sincere about it, bring them over to me then."
"Okay! I'll help you call them right now." Now that he had resolved Pi Junzi and Tao Yongchun's problem, Miao Yi put the wine flask down and prepared to take his leave.
Suddenly, the Lady Boss's voice came from behind. "And you can move out of the storeroom tomorrow as well."
Miao Yi immediately stopped dead in his tracks. He awkwardly turned around and slowly walked back. "Lady Boss, you're kidding, right?"
"What do you mean? I've already made things very clear for you. It'll be problematic for me if I allow you to continue staying in the storeroom. Of course, if you work here as an employee, there wouldn't be any issue whatsoever. No one will be able to argue with that." She waved her arm and continued, "Go then! Bring me those two guys you were telling me about."
'How can I possibly leave now?!' Miao Yi sat back down with a firm expression, gritting his teeth as he said, "Lady Boss, I can work as your employee, but can you promise me something?"
The Lady Boss' eyes gleamed. "My dear little brother, this big sister has already helped you plenty. Don't go too far!"
"Lady Boss, since you're already offering me this much, you should just help me all the way. I have it pretty rough too…"
"Can it! Stop nagging so much. Just tell me what it is."
"Don't you see? The reason I'm taking you up on your offer is precisely so that I can continue to stay here legitimately in the tavern. But umm… I don't need the salary. Instead of that, can you just give me less work to do? So that I'll have more time to cultivate."
"I don't have the practice of withholding my employee's salaries. You will be rightfully paid according to the work you do. Otherwise, won't my employees have an excuse to slack off then? What will you do if they don't obey my instructions anymore?"
"I promise I will obey your every command. I just need you to give me some extra personal time."
"Seeing as how you don't want to accept the salary, let's do it this way then! You don't need to work too much. Just show up in the lobby downstairs every day and do an hour's worth of work. Besides that, you will also have to bring two buckets of bath water to my room every day. Once in the morning, and once at night. And also, I want you to spend half an hour everyday to ensure that my room is clean and tidy. Lastly… you will have to drink with me around this time everyday. All these things shouldn't take up more than a couple hours of your everyday life. Are these terms acceptable? If it's still too much for you, then get lost!"
There was no room for negotiation at all. However, it was true that it wouldn't take up too much of his time. Miao Yi immediately nodded and smiled as he said, "Alright, alright, alright. Then umm… about the two guys I want to introduce to you…" If he wasn't trying to help Pi Junzi and Tao Yongchun out, he would have surely tried to bargain a little bit more to ensure that he would get the maximum benefit.
The Lady Boss seemed to be in a good mood. "I'll decide once you bring them over. For now…" As she turned back, she realized Miao Yi was already gone without a trace.
Soon, she caught sight of him in the courtyard downstairs. He scanned his surroundings suspiciously, then stabbed a chopstick into the earthen wall of the courtyard. The Lady Boss was at a loss for words when she realized that he even had a secret sign ready.
Pi Junzi and Tao Yongchun only appeared outside the tavern's gates around sunset the next day. After all, they couldn't be just sitting outside the tavern the whole time. Some time had passed before they noticed Miao Yi's signal.
Meanwhile, Miao Yi was already wearing the employee's uniform, with a trilby hat on his head and a white towel over his shoulder. He had been waiting for the two of them for a long time. He stood in the courtyard and waved to the both of them.
As the two walked in, they couldn't help looking a little confused by Miao Yi's attire. Pi Junzi curiously asked, "What's with the getup?"
Miao Yi transmitted his voice over. "Right now, I'm one of the tavern's employees. Don't say I didn't offer you guys any help. I painstakingly managed to convince the Lady Boss to take you two in and hire you as employees. Just tell me now if you're willing to take the offer or not. If you don't want it, then turn around and walk away this instant."
Pi Junzi and Tao Yongchun were overjoyed by his words. This Tempest Tavern was well-known for treating its employees generously. Not to mention, it was completely safe here. To the two of them, there was nothing better than this. How could they possibly refuse? Like little chicks nibbling at rice grains, they nodded repeatedly and said, "Yes. Yes. We'll take it."
"Good. Remember to be on your best behavior when you meet the Lady Boss later. Don't botch this up."
"Okay, okay. We got it."
"Come with me then!" Miao Yi waved his hand and led both of them into the tavern.
Then, one of the employees approached them with a smile and said, "My apologies, dear guests, but we're fully booked."
Miao Yi waved his hand and said, "They're one of ours. The Lady Boss wants to see them."
As he slouched over the counter, the scholar couldn't help chuckling to himself the second he saw Miao Yi's attire. He smiled and said, "Niu Er, so these two are the ones, eh? They look a little familiar!"
"Yeah, that's right. Once everything is settled, I'll bring them over to see you." Miao Yi cupped his fists. Pi Junzi and Tao Yongchun also politely bowed to the scholar. They both knew that he was the innkeeper.
When they reached the rear courtyard, Miao Yi said to them, "You two wait here for a bit. I'll be back soon."
The two of them nodded. Soon, they saw Miao Yi coming out of the kitchen with two large buckets of water. He nudged his head at them, signalling them to follow behind.