Chapter 155: Heartrending Goodbyes

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

In the end, Rong Ruihan decided to leave with old man Chi and his clansmen. Although Rong Ruihan’s abilities were second to none among his contemporaries, they were nothing compared with the rest of the cultivators in the world.

He needed to get stronger. It was only with sufficient strength that he would finally be able to avenge his mother and his clansmen.

And to protect those whom he wished to protect.

Some distance away, Jun Xiaomo was saying her final goodbyes to the little packrat as it nestled comfortably in Shao Sirong’s bosom. As he watched them say their goodbyes, a swathe of complicated feelings swelled up in the depths of his eyes for a moment, before they quickly disappeared into a complete stillness once again.

Rong Ruihan consciously resolved to suppress the thoughts hidden in the depths of his heart until he could finally obtain the strength that he needed, just like how he did in his dreams.

“Little Packie, be good. You can only turn back to your human form when you get back to your sect. Once you’ve recovered and healed up fully, I’ll invite you over as guests to the Heavenly Peak, alright?” Jun Xiaomo gently stroked the little packrat’s nose with her index finger as she cajoled.

Jun Xiaomo was still unable to shed her previous habits despite knowing that the little packrat was a human and not a little pet. Thus, she continued to speak to it though it were nothing more than a little packrat.

Squeak squeak squeak… The little packrat grabbed Jun Xiaomo’s fingers tenderly. Its round, beady eyes were even laced with glimmering traces of tiny tears.

I…I…I still can’t bear to part with Xiaomo…

Furthermore, even if Jun Xiaomo had promised to invite him as a guest over to the Heavenly Peak, how could he just blatantly stride into a sect of spiritual cultivators when he was a demonic cultivator? Chances were that it was going to be a long time before they would be able to see each other again.

“Look at you! Such impudence!” Shao Sirong could hardly hold it in any longer as she rapped her son gently on his head, “It’s precisely because you act this way that Xiaomo always treats you as a pet!”

In other words, do you really think you can win her over like that? Dream on!

Shao Sirong had truly struck a nerve when she castigated her son like that.

Squeak squeak… The little packrat understood what its mother meant. Thus, he tucked his ear back and licked Jun Xiaomo’s finger one last time before it turned away from its previous “owner”.

Jun Xiaomo chuckled helplessly as she tenderly rubbed the little packrat’s head and stroked the fur on its back.

“Goodbye, little fella.” The corner of Jun Xiaomo’s eyes were slightly damp as she spoke, but this dampness quickly dried up within moments.

Jun Xiaomo was not afraid of parting ways temporarily – the only thing she was afraid of was parting ways forever in death. This was because even though their present goodbyes were laced with some measure of reluctance and sadness, there was no despair or despondence.

Jun Xiaomo knew that as long as they lived long and lived well, there would undoubtedly be a day when their paths would cross again.

Therefore, Jun Xiaomo repressed the sorrow and unwillingness in her heart, and revealed a radiant smile filled with many blessings to the little packrat. She bid them a safe journey back to their sect and prayed that he would revert to good health in no time.

Old man Chi squinted his eyes as he sized up this potential great granddaughter-in-law of his once again. His assessment of her had grown slightly better over this short period of interaction.

This was a sensible young girl, and the grilled meat she prepared was delicious. She was even sincere and straightforward towards him and his great grandson. It would be a pity if anything happened to her.

As he thought about this, old man Chi suddenly stepped forward and retrieved from his Interspatial Ring a little ornament etched from jade.

“This little ornament is something that I picked up by chance. I had intended to give it to my great grandson as his seventeenth birthday present. But his seventeenth birthday has already passed. As a token of our appreciation of how you’ve cared for my great grandson these few months, I would like you to have this instead. I’ve stored a portion of my own strength within this ornament. If you happen to encounter a crisis in the future, perhaps this will be able to save your life.”

Old man Chi handed the little jade ornament to Jun Xiaomo.

“This…this gift is far too valuable. There’s no need for it.” Jun Xiaomo politely motioned to reject old man Chi’s gift.

“Xiaomo, please take it. Grandfather will naturally prepare something else for Little Chi’s birthday gift.” Shao Sirong persuaded Jun Xiaomo with a faint smile, “Furthermore, this isn’t anything too valuable. You can treat grandfather’s gift as a gesture of goodwill from an elder to a junior.”

Jun Xiaomo thought about it, before finally relenting and accepting the gift. As she received it, she looked at old man Chi in the eye and sincerely thanked him from the bottom of her heart.

Rong Ruihan was moved by this sight. Thus, he quickly retrieved two exquisite looking earrings from his Interspatial Ring, bit his fingers and dripped two drops of blood, one on each earring, as he softly murmured an ancient mnemonic.

Old man Chi glanced over at Rong Ruihan and noticed what he was doing, but he remained taciturn. No one else saw Rong Ruihan’s discrete actions right now.

Moments later, the earrings glowed with a red light, before fading away into stillness as though nothing had happened.

On the surface, it looked exactly the same as it had been before. But if someone sent a thread of demonic energy probing about these earrings, they would discover that there was an immense source of energy stored within them.

Rong Ruihan had overexerted himself, and his forehead was soaked profusely with sweat. Nevertheless, the gaze in his eyes remained completely still.

He walked over to Jun Xiaomo and presented his gift of earrings to Jun Xiaomo.

Jun Xiaomo was taken aback.

“This is also a small token from me to thank Xiaomo for looking after me during this period of time.” Rong Ruihan explained.

Yet after some hesitation, Jun Xiaomo shook her head and looked straight into Rong Ruihan’s eyes as she earnestly replied, “Brother Rong, we’re friends. Looking after each other is something that comes naturally with being friends. I can’t accept this token from you.”

Although the events of her previous life meant that she now owed an additional debt of gratitude to Rong Ruihan, this debt of gratitude was not the same as love. She knew full well that she saw Rong Ruihan as nothing more than a friend. Therefore, she did not wish to give him any hope and lead him on.

“What if…it’s my earnest desire that you accept this gift of mine?” Rong Ruihan’s tone of voice remained indifferent, yet it was obvious that he was pleading with her right now.

“Brother Rong…” Jun Xiaomo was caught between a rock and a hard place.

“I understand.” Rong Ruihan sighed and patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder, “I won’t let my thoughts wander just because you’ve accepted these earrings from me. Xiaomo, your cultivation level is still rather low, and you’re still some distance away from your Sect. Having an added layer of protection means possessing another measure of hope, isn’t it? This is just a friend’s token of concern for you.”

Most importantly, this pair of earrings did not merely store a portion of Rong Ruihan’s powers – it even stored a tiny fragment of his soul.

If Jun Xiaomo encountered any dangerous situation, he would be the first one to know. It would no longer be like how it was in his dreams, where he had been unable to even witness Jun Xiaomo’s final moments.

He did not want to feel such regrets and abject helplessness ever again.

Naturally, these were not matters that he would apprise Jun Xiaomo of. After all, fragmenting one soul was an incredibly dangerous process. At the very least, if this earring was broken and his soul dissipated as a result of that, his body would suffer from a commensurate backlash.

If Jun Xiaomo knew of what Rong Ruihan had done, she would never accept this earring no matter what he said.

That said, Jun Xiaomo still looked as hesitant as ever about accepting Rong Ruihan’s gift, and she grew taciturn.

Rather, it was that Ye Xiuwen stepped forward at this moment and received the earrings from Rong Ruihan’s hands.

“Martial brother?” Jun Xiaomo never expected her martial brother to interject like that, and she looked curiously at him.

“It would be best if you accepted it. The first prince is right – an added layer of protection means another measure of hope.”

As Ye Xiuwen spoke, he stretched out his hands and tucked the hair beside Jun Xiaomo’s face behind her ear, and then punched the earrings straight through her ears.

“Hss—” Jun Xiaomo drew a cold breath when she felt the pinching sensation on her ears. But in the blink of an eye, there were now two exquisite earrings dangling from her ears.

Ye Xiuwen’s actions were so swift that they caught Jun Xiaomo completely off guard. Jun Xiaomo did not even have the time to object to it.

After he gently wiped off the traces of blood from Jun Xiaomo’s ears, Ye Xiuwen retracted his hand and tousled Jun Xiaomo’s hair.

The part of Jun Xiaomo’s ears that Ye Xiuwen had touched felt slightly warmer than usual. Nevertheless, she ran her fingers along the new earrings dangling from her ear with joy.

“Thank you.” Rong Ruihan expressed his gratitude to Ye Xiuwen.

Although the intimate interactions between Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo made an inexplicably dour sensation arise in Rong Ruihan’s heart, Ye Xiuwen’s actions had saved him a lot of time and effort from cajoling Jun Xiaomo.

Furthermore, if he had been in Ye Xiuwen’s shoes, he might not have helped his love rival in this regard. Therefore, he sincerely extended his thanks to Ye Xiuwen.

Ye Xiuwen glanced over indifferently to Rong Ruihan as he responded, “No need for thanks. I also hope that Xiaomo can return to the Sect safely.”

As long as they were still outside the Sect, dangerous encounters were an inevitability. Even if old man Chi had already ridded them of their greatest enemy, who could guarantee that they would not encounter another wave of hostile forces?

There was simply no way of guaranteeing a person’s safe return once they left the safety of the Sect’s borders.

Ye Xiuwen was also aware of the inadequacies of his own strength. He knew that there was no way he would be able to protect Jun Xiaomo if any opponent vastly stronger than himself showed up. Thus, he would very much prefer to accept any measure of Rong Ruihan’s assistance in this regard.

Rong Ruihan was aware of the thoughts running through Ye Xiuwen’s mind as well. He presented a rare smile on his face as he remarked, “I understand. Take good care of her.”

Naturally, everyone understood who “her” referred to.

“I will.” Ye Xiuwen’s voice was filled with determination.

Rong Ruihan was finally at ease. He patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder as he bade her farewell, “Then, I’m leaving now. Xiaomo, take care.”

The rims of Jun Xiaomo’s eyes reddened, but she did her best to present a smile as she bade him farewell, “Thanks, brother Rong. Goodbye.”

Old man Chi snorted again as he yelled, “Disciple, we won’t be able to wait for you any longer if you don’t come over now…”

Old man Chi had already begun to activate his Teleportation Array. Chi Hongyi and Shao Sirong were all standing within the heart of the formation array right now, while the little packrat remained obsequiously in Shao Sirong’s bosom as it stared at Jun Xiaomo with glistening eyes.

Rong Ruihan nodded to Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo, “Farewell then. We will meet again.”

As he said that, he took quick, long strides as he made his way to old man Chi’s formation array.

Jun Xiaomo waved at his back. Then, she cupped her hands around her mouth as she yelled to everyone at the formation array, “Farewell--!”

Everyone else waved back at Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen and bade them farewell.

Then, once Rong Ruihan made his way to the heart of the formation array, an intense blue light burst out from the heart from the formation array, engulfing all of them.

Within the blink of an eye, Rong Ruihan, the little packrat, and old man Chi and his clansmen all vanished from the heart of the formation array.

Jun Xiaomo’s arms finally slackened, and tears began to fall from the corner of her eyes.

Ye Xiuwen patted her head. Even though he remained taciturn, Jun Xiaomo knew that he was consoling her.

“It’s fine. I’m just a little bit sad to say our goodbyes. But I’m sure we will meet each other again.” Jun Xiaomo spoke with conviction as she lifted her head once more. At this moment, her eyes were only slightly puffy, but she was no longer tearing anymore.

“Let’s go, then.” Jun Xiaomo clutched tightly onto Ye Xiuwen’s arm as she beamed as said, “Martial brother, we still have to complete the Sect’s mission for these travels, don’t we? Basilisk Fruits aren’t easy to find. Let’s make haste.”

Ye Xiuwen’s eyes gleamed with blissful warmth as he responded, “Alright.”

On the other side, Situ Cang, who had been reduced to a tragic state by old man Chi, had laid motionless on the ground for the last few hours. Finally, he began to stir once more.

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