Chapter 131: The Third Medicinal Element, Blisterfruit

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

The first time that Jun Xiaomo discovered something suspicious about Ye Xiuwen was when she first suggested to have a duel with Zhang Shuyue.

The main reason why Jun Xiaomo had made such a suggestion was not to defeat Zhang Shuyue and make her leave Ye Xiuwen’s side. Rather, she had done so as a form of test.

Although Jun Xiaomo did not possess a deep understanding of the Soulless Lands, she had nevertheless encountered similar illusory domains in her previous life. Therefore, she had always been somewhat vigilant of these sudden changes in her surroundings. Furthermore, the fact that Jun Xiaomo could be reborn and have a second shot at life was a miracle in and of itself. How could such miracles keep happening to her time and again?

Therefore, after the initial shock from seeing Ye Xiuwen and Zhang Shuyue hold hands as they approached her had passed, Jun Xiaomo managed to collect herself and suppress the intense emotions in her heart.

As she analyzed and broke down her situation, she began to suspect the veracity of what she was seeing.

Then, with Ye Xiuwen and Zhang Shuyue’s relationship as the stakes, Jun Xiaomo broached the idea of a duel to Ye Xiuwen. If she won, then Zhang Shuyue would have to leave Ye Xiuwen’s side, never to appear before them again.

Such duels were in fact fairly common in the cultivation world, especially when two women were vying for the same man or when two men were vying for the same woman. Since it was not uncommon to see cultivators resolving their disputes through duels, perhaps the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen had failed to notice the issues with Jun Xiaomo’s suggestion at that time.

After all, the little red flowers had only managed to create an illusion of Ye Xiuwen by drawing out Jun Xiaomo’s memories of him. No matter how real his appearances and his aura were, the little red flowers would never be able to replicate the minutest of details, habits and idiosyncrasies that Ye Xiuwen possessed.

Therefore, Jun Xiaomo immediately grew suspicious of Ye Xiuwen’s true identity when he tacitly agreed to the duel between Jun Xiaomo and Zhang Shuyue.

If this were the real Ye Xiuwen, he would never have condoned such an unreasonable request from Jun Xiaomo. At best, the real Ye Xiuwen would have chided her sternly in his capacity as her elder martial brother and coerced her into compromising on her position.

Afterwards, Jun Xiaomo set up her second test in the midst of her battle with Zhang Shuyue. As soon as she received her first injury from Zhang Shuyue, she had been waiting for Ye Xiuwen to intervene with the duel.

When she had first encountered Zhang Shuyue in her previous life, Ye Xiuwen had already closed off his heart to her a second time. Therefore, it was a fact that Jun Xiaomo was nothing more than a duty and responsibility to Ye Xiuwen at that time.

That said, despite the fact that she was nothing more than a duty and responsibility to Ye Xiuwen, he had never abandoned or turned a blind eye to her, much less passively allow her to come close to dying like what the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen appeared to do.

In the end, the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen failed to intervene even after Jun Xiaomo was beaten to a bloody pulp by Zhang Shuyue.

Perhaps the Mistlands had wanted to see the most intense despair and despondence in Jun Xiaomo’s eyes. Therefore, it did not allow the counterfeit Zhang Shuyue to kill Jun Xiaomo, and instead left the final blow to be delivered through the hands of the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen.

That might also explain why it had allowed the counterfeit Zhang Shuyue to die by Jun Xiaomo’s retaliations. This was all so that Ye Xiuwen would have a reason to kill Jun Xiaomo.

After all, dying in the hands of her most beloved person would only amplify the pain and agony experienced by Jun Xiaomo moments before her death. If the Mistlands possessed a rational mind, this must have been its considerations.

But naturally, the Mistlands did not possess such cognitive functions. It was motivated based solely on its basic survival instincts.

Then, when Ye Xiuwen stabbed his sword into Jun Xiaomo’s body, Jun Xiaomo had at the same time plunged her sword through Ye Xiuwen’s chest. Over the years, Jun Xiaomo had sharpened and honed her combat instincts to inflict the greatest amount of damage with the greatest efficacy. Her combat instincts manifested in her present predicament, and she left no room for the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen’s survival at all.

With the death of the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen, the fog around Jun Xiaomo’s body also gradually dispersed. Jun Xiaomo could no longer support her own body, and she collapsed onto the floor.

Yet apart from that feeling of weakness and the echoing pain emanating from her chest, Jun Xiaomo discovered that within moments, she no longer experienced any other physical discomforts. Even that grievous wound inflicted by the counterfeit Ye Xiuwen seemed to have automatically closed up and healed. In fact, it had completely vanished.

This all stood to reason. The Soulless Land’s attacks affected a person through the realm of souls. These attacks stuck directly at a person’s soul, severely wounding or even destroying their souls completely. Then, these trespassers’ physical bodies would be left with nothing more than empty, brain-dead husks that would eventually become nutrients to these little red flowers. In the end, not a single bit of the trespassers’ souls would remain.

This was also the reason why the trespassers would regain their senses once they had managed to overcome the illusions generated by the little red flowers.

Jun Xiaomo slowly closed her eyes and adjusted her thoughts. Then, when she opened her eyes again, she discovered that she was now lying on a flowerbed of deep-red flowers. This flowerbed was approximately as tall as the knee-height of a five or six years-old child. As the gentle breeze swept across these flowers, these flowers would rustle and sway along in conformance with the ebb and flow of the winds, just like the waves of the ocean. It was a serene and beautiful sight.

But the more beautiful something was, the more dangerous it was. What earned the Soulless Lands its name was precisely the handiworks of these innocent and harmless-looking little red flowers.

Jun Xiaomo stood up, bent over and began examining these flowers. After some moments of deliberation, a radiant smile flashed across her face.

“It’s you! You’re the final medicinal element I need to treat that scar on martial brother’s face!”

As Jun Xiaomo exclaimed joyfully, she wrapped her hand around the stems of some of these flowers and gave it a great yank –

As soil fell from the roots of the now uprooted red flowers, a bunch of fruits could be seen below its roots.

These fruits were incredibly small. Each of them was about the size of a person’s thumb, and they were shaped like a blister. They were hardly pleasant to the eye. Yet the colour of these fruits, its appearances and its smell told Jun Xiaomo that this was exactly the Blisterfruits that she had been looking for.

Jun Xiaomo recalled the contents of a book that she had read in her previous life which introduced the Blisterfruit –

“Blisterfruit – bitter to the taste and peculiarly-shaped. The surface of the fruit is bumpy and rough. Its name is a misnomer – though it is called a fruit, it is in fact the root of a plant. It grows in bunches under a peculiar, little red flower that is native to the Mystic Woods. Beware: these carnivorous flowers lure travelers into their illusions…A rough sketch of the Blisterfruit can be seen below.”

In Jun Xiaomo’s previous life, the manifestation of Jun Xiaomo’s survival instincts had caused her to practically consume and devour all knowledge pertaining to spirit herbs and medicines. Although her talent and success rates for refining medicinal pills were mediocre at best, she could nevertheless recall with pristine clarity the procedures and constituents for refining each type of medicine.

Once she had gathered all the medicinal elements that she needed, she would only need to locate a sufficiently competent pillmaster before martial brother Ye’s scar can be cured!

As she thought about this, Jun Xiaomo mood immediately lightened up. She smiled radiantly as she looked at the little red flowers under her feet. At this moment, she no longer saw these little red flowers as the culprits who had earlier bound her in a devastating illusion.

Right now, this was nothing more than a luxurious herb garden to her!

Jun Xiaomo bent over and began to pluck and uproot the little red flowers fervently.

Poor little red flowers. When they had earlier trapped Jun Xiaomo in their illusion, intending to turn her into their nourishment, they could never have expected that this “prey” of theirs would turn out to be their own worst nightmares. It must be said that these little red flowers had painstakingly nourished their bodies with the souls and fleshly bodies of travelers over umpteen years. Their flowers possessed a vibrant red colour, while their stems and leaves were a glistening jade-green colour. Notwithstanding that, this single failed attempt at devouring their “prey” had resulted in them being uprooted and stored within the Interspatial Ring of that “prey”.

The winds swept by again, and the flowerbeds of little red flowers shuddered. Perhaps it was a result of the wind; or perhaps the little red flowers were well aware of their fate.

In the meantime, the eager Jun Xiaomo continued to immerse herself in the joy of harvesting the field of Blisterfruits. Little did she know that, bit by bit, she was also drawing closer to Ye Xiuwen’s location…

While Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo were not too far apart, they were still unable to see each other. This was because Ye Xiuwen was still trapped in the thick fog generated by the patches of little red flowers.

Ye Xiuwen was unaware that the scene playing out before his very eyes was nothing more than an illusion. After all, he did not have the benefit of a lifetime of experience like Jun Xiaomo did.

Compared with the plethora of life experience that Jun Xiaomo had under her belt, Ye Xiuwen was still far too young and naïve.

Ye Xiuwen already knew that his feelings for his little martial sister were extremely complicated. But Ye Xiuwen’s experience with life thus far made him reticent to delve deeper into his own feelings.

He thought that as long as he shelved his feelings, then he would continue to be the martial brother that Jun Xiaomo respected, and their relationship would never change for worse, ever.

Ye Xiuwen had always been a passive person to begin with. If not for the fact that Jun Xiaomo and Yao Mo had actively drawn closer to him, it might well be the case that their relationship would be no more than cursory, even now.

They would have been no better than strangers.

This present illusion was specifically crafted for Ye Xiuwen. In fact, not even Ye Xiuwen himself knew how much he minded the fiancé-fiancée relationship between Jun Xiaomo and Qin Lingyu.

Not even right now. Instead, he only knew that seeing Jun Xiaomo nestle against Qin Lingyu in his bosom was an incredible eyesore to him.

This form of visual provocation had pricked the depths of his heart, giving rise to an oppressive, stifling feeling.

As though this were all insufficient, the counterfeit Jun Xiaomo lowered her head as she softly remarked, “I never knew that martial brother Ye looked so terrifying…it’s no wonder I cried so much when I saw him when I was young.”

Ye Xiuwen clenched his fists tightly. Then, he let go.

“Sorry for interrupting.” Ye Xiuwen stated curtly before he turned to leave.

He did not like arguing with people. Who cares if Jun Xiaomo had hurt him again? He could simply evict her from her place in his heart.

“Wait a minute.” Qin Lingyu called out. In the next moment, Qin Lingyu operated a peculiar formation array, and Jun Xiaomo’s entire courtyard was suddenly enveloped with a dark yellow light.

This dark yellowish light was extremely visceral and corporeal, and it formed a conical-shaped cage as it enclosed the four corners of Jun Xiaomo’s courtyard.

With that, Ye Xiuwen found himself completely trapped inside.

“Martial brother Qin, just what is the meaning of this?” Ye Xiuwen turned around and questioned placidly.

Ye Xiuwen no longer wore his veiled conical hat, and his deep, pupils were visible and striking. It looked mysterious and enigmatic, like the darkest of nights. It seemed almost inconsistent with the cool, dignified air that Ye Xiuwen possessed.

While Ye Xiuwen did not like inciting conflict or initiating arguments with people, he was not a person who would let someone step all over him either.

Qin Lingyu chuckled, before he explained with a measured tone of voice, “What do I mean? Naturally, I’m purging the Sect of vermin.”

“Purging the Sect?” Ye Xiuwen furrowed his brows.

“That’s right. Do you think I would conceal from the Sect how you’ve colluded with demonic cultivators?” Qin Lingyu laughed sardonically as he added, “In fact, the first prince was not the only demonic cultivator; even that young man called Yao Mo was also one. He deserves to have been burnt to death by the Grand Vizier’s Ninefold Empyrean Flame.”

“What did you say?!” Ye Xiuwen was completely taken aback by Qin Lingyu’s final statement. The earlier placid expression on his face was now completely shattered.

Qin Lingyu laughed meaningfully, “What I’m saying is that the young man named Yao Mo is already dead. He had even held the Inferno Kingdom’s first king in a tight embrace as he died, as though he wanted to perish together with that first prince.”

“Ahh, that’s right.” Qin Lingyu added, “I forgot that martial brother Ye was especially fond of that young man, Yao Mo. You’ve even lived and ate together at one point. It’s just such a pity…”

His voice trailed off meaningfully, but it was impossible to tell whether he meant that it was a pity that Yao Mo was dead; or it was a pity that Yao Mo’s final choice was the first prince.

Regardless, Ye Xiuwen’s brain momentarily drew a blank.

There was no doubt that Qin Lingyu’s final statement had dealt Ye Xiuwen the greatest blow.

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