Chapter 185: Suggestion, Establish Another Sect?

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Jun Xiaomo felt as though she had been floating in the middle of a vast ocean, undulating in tandem with the ebb and flow of the waves.

The boundless ocean waters seemed to have a life of its own, and each drop of the ocean waters sought to forcefully burrow through each and every pore on Jun Xiaomo’s skin. She felt like wincing and crying out in pain. She felt like waving her arms about in order to shake off the dull pain accompanying the bloated feeling afflicting her body, yet the ocean waters seemed to engulf her orifices, restrain her limbs and drag her down to the depths of the ocean as it consumed her.

Just as she was about to be resigned to her fate of perishing in this boundless ocean, a soothing current swept over towards her and enshrouded her, protecting her from the dreadful ocean waters and bringing relief to her aching bones and flesh.

Finally, she came to her senses.

When she first awakened, everything in front of her eyes still seemed like a blur, and she mistook her surroundings for that boundless ocean in her dreams.

“Ungh…” Jun Xiaomo rubbed her eyes, and her head turned slightly as she began to stir.

“You’re awake? You’ve been unconscious for several hours.” A deep voice rang out beside her, causing her to remove her hands from her eyes in bewilderment.

“Brother Rong?”

“It’s me.”

It was only at this moment that Jun Xiaomo discovered her dark surroundings were a result of the lack of sunlight around her. The sky outside her room had already darkened, and dusk had fallen. The candles in her room was unlit as well.

As her eyes slowly acclimated to her dark surroundings, she began to notice Rong Ruihan seated quietly beside her.

“Brother Rong, what are you doing here?” Jun Xiaomo blinked curiously.

“Your parents have been watching over you for a long time. I took over their duties and told them to go have dinner first.” Rong Ruihan calmly explained.

Jun Xiaomo smiled radiantly, “Thanks, brother Rong.”

Rong Ruihan looked at Jun Xiaomo’s eyes as a swathe of complicated emotions began to roil within him. Jun Xiaomo’s radiant smile sent ripples going through his heart.

“No need to thank me. Between us…there’s no need to be so formal.” Rong Ruihan spoke softly.

Jun Xiaomo lifted her hands and tried to sit up, but her arms were still extremely weak. Thus, she failed after several attempts.

Rong Ruihan’s eyes darkened. Then, he leaned over and supported Jun Xiaomo’s shoulders with both hands.

Jun Xiaomo froze momentarily. She lifted her head, and her eyes immediately met with Rong Ruihan’s deep, profound gaze. She could make out the fact that there were complicated emotions within Rong Ruihan’s eyes – emotions that she would rather not delve into.

She lowered her eyes and chuckled lightly as she responded, “I’m really useless now, aren’t I? I can’t even sit up on my own, and I’ve got to trouble brother Rong like this.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Rong Ruihan used a little bit more force and supported Jun Xiaomo as she finally sat up.

Jun Xiaomo’s body was tense and stiff. This was in complete contrast with how her body felt when Rong Ruihan carried her unconscious and unguarded body back from the competition grounds. Rong Ruihan sighed in his heart. Even though he was reluctant, he released Jun Xiaomo from his grip.

Would Jun Xiaomo be so tense and stiff if I were Ye Xiuwen? A thought crossed Rong Ruihan’s mind, but he quickly shelved it.

Rong Ruihan picked up a pillow and placed it behind Jun Xiaomo’s back so that she could lean back comfortably on the pillow.

After doing all this, the atmosphere in the room somehow began to feel somewhat tense and unbearable.

“Actually…now that I’m awake and alright, brother Rong can also go have something to eat to fill your stomach.” Jun Xiaomo thought about it and began to persuade him.

“It’s fine. We can wait for senior Jun and his wife to return before I go.” Rong Ruihan immediately rejected Jun Xiaomo’s suggestion, before asking with concern, “Are you thirsty? Do you want to drink some water?”

“Ah? Oh…alright…alright then. Thanks.” Jun Xiaomo was taken aback by the sudden change in topic. Her earlier suggestion to let Rong Ruihan leave the room had thus been met with a dead end as well.

Rong Ruihan filled a cup with tea and presented it to Jun Xiaomo.

After receiving that glass of tea, Jun Xiaomo took a sip, and then continued to hold it gingerly in her hands.

She looked down on the ripples on the surface of the tea in her cup, and her heart somehow began to surge with complicated emotions as well.

“Actually, there’s no need for you to feel burdened by the actions on my part.” Rong Ruihan stretched out his arms and patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder, “Xiaomo, I’ll admit that my inclination towards you can’t simply be explained by friendship. But no matter where these feelings of mine come from, it doesn’t change the fact that the things I cherish most are the times we’ve shared while on the run together, as well as the precious friendship that we’ve developed through the same. Therefore, I hope that you won’t distance yourself from me just because of the fact that I’ve got feeling for you, alright?”

“Brother Rong…I…” Jun Xiaomo had never expected Rong Ruihan to directly address the elephant in the room, and she was completely caught off guard at this moment.

Rong Ruihan sighed again, tousled Jun Xiaomo’s hair once more, before he stood up and motioned to leave.

“Wait a minute, brother Rong!” Jun Xiaomo grabbed onto his arm. Rong Ruihan lowered his head and met with a pair of guilt-stricken eyes, “I…I didn’t intend to distance myself from you. I only felt that it wouldn’t be fair to you if I couldn’t reciprocate your feelings towards me. I don’t want to see you get hurt because of me.”

Rong Ruihan patted Jun Xiaomo’s hair as he responded –

“Xiaomo, I’ve never expected you to reciprocate my feelings just because I have feelings for you. Furthermore, I won’t feel hurt if you are unable to reciprocate these feelings of mine. Rather, I find the prospects of having this friendship that I cherish so much completely uprooted and discarded more painful than anything else. Do you understand what I mean?”

Jun Xiaomo’s eyes began to grow red and puffy, and her heart began to ache with sourness.

She gripped Rong Ruihan’s arm tightly, “I understand. I’m sorry, brother Rong. I’ve let my thoughts wander astray.”

Rong Ruihan hugged Jun Xiaomo gently and patted her back. This time, Jun Xiaomo’s body no longer stiffened and tensed up.

Having noticed the change in Jun Xiaomo’s disposition towards him, a trace of joy filled the depths of Rong Ruihan’s eyes once again.

After releasing her from their embrace, Rong Ruihan lowered his head and looked straight into Jun Xiaomo’s eyes, before he explained, “This is just a normal, no-strings-attached hug between friends.”

“Pfft--!” Jun Xiaomo burst out laughing because of Rong Ruihan’s solemn and sincere expression. The sourness in her heart also dwindled substantially.

She clenched a fist and punched Rong Ruihan’s shoulder playfully, before adding, “I know~ There’s no need to explain this as well. You make it look like I treat you as a great scourge.”

Rong Ruihan raised his eyebrow quizzically, “But didn’t you treat me like a great scourge earlier?”

Jun Xiaomo revealed a bashful expression on her face. She brought her clenched fist to her mouth and coughed dryly into it as she made up an excuse, “I’d just awakened from my stupor and I couldn’t think straight earlier. That’s why my mind thoughts went astray.”

Rong Ruihan smiled faintly. He patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder, “It’s fine, as long as your mind doesn’t wander too far the next time. Otherwise, if you end up breaking my heart, you’ll have no choice but to take responsibility and find a way to mend it back.”

Jun Xiaomo burst out into laughter again. This was the first time she noticed that Rong Ruihan had a comical side to him as well.

In fact, the fact that Rong Ruihan maintained such a straight face when he joked made the entire scenario that much more comical.

Having overcome this little knot in their relationship, the little wall that Jun Xiaomo had subconsciously built up around her heart was now thoroughly demolished. The atmosphere between the two of them became harmonious and cordial again.

In fact, it could be said that the relationship between Jun Xiaomo and Rong Ruihan had become better than it had ever been before.

Seeing how Jun Xiaomo had returned to her usual, chirpy self, Rong Ruihan’s gaze softened, but his eyes deepened with increasing profundity.

This was the result that he had hoped for…was it not?

“Oh yes, Xiaomo, do you know why you weren’t able to arouse from your state of comatose?”

After dissolving that knot in their relationship, Rong Ruihan once again turned his attention to the condition of Jun Xiaomo’s body.

“Comatose?” Jun Xiaomo deliberated for a moment, “Maybe…it’s because I’m about to breakthrough to the next level of cultivation? During the battle earlier, I managed to ascend through the bottleneck of the fifth level of Qi Mastery, and I’m ready to step into the sixth level of Qi Mastery.”

“Battle?” Rong Ruihan furrowed his brows, “Since you knew that you were about to breakthrough, why didn’t you stop the competition?”

“If I stopped in the midst of the competition, then that would be giving up my right to participate, is it not?” Jun Xiaomo chuckled bitterly with helplessness.

“Absurd! How can you force the issue until the competition ends? Do you know how dangerous that is?!” Rong Ruihan sternly chided.

“I know it’s pretty dangerous, but I still…wanted to give it my best shot.” Jun Xiaomo lowered her head as she responded remorsefully, “I’m sorry. I’ve made everyone worry.”

She knew that she must have worried all her friends and family while she was trapped in her state of comatose.

She had resolved countless times not to let others worry for her any longer, but whenever push came to shove, Jun Xiaomo’s restraint had always taken a backseat, and she would inadvertently cause others to worry for her time and again.

Furthermore, the other main reason why this matter escalated out of proportion was because of the nature of the energy within Jun Xiaomo’s body.

It was neither demonic energy nor spiritual energy, and thus it was unable to draw in more from the surroundings on its own. In other words, if Jun Xiaomo were unable to consciously recite the mnemonic for transforming the surrounding energies to true energy, then the true energy within her body would not increase at all.

Therefore, even though she had broken through during combat, the risks of danger to life and limb were not high. The only cause for concern was how her clashing, chaotic true energy would render her unconscious, which in turn meant that she would be unable to resolve and soothe the energy within her body.

Just like what she had just been through.

“Xiaomo, the energy within your body isn’t the same as ours, is it?” After a few moments of silence, Rong Ruihan got to the nub of the issue.

“Huh?” Jun Xiaomo lifted her head in shock. She had never expected Rong Ruihan to discover this anomaly within her body.

Almost as though Rong Ruihan knew the questions on Jun Xiaomo’s mind right now, he continued, “It’s not just me who knows about this. Senior Jun has also discovered this anomaly. Because when both of us sent our spiritual energy and demonic energy through your body in turn, we received no reactions from your body whatsoever.”

Jun Xiaomo chuckled helplessly, “Brother Rong is formidable…That’s right. This is a third kind of energy that is different from spiritual energy and demonic energy. I’d only discovered it by chance, and it happened to be the most suitable for someone in my current condition.”

She had fallen to He Zhang’s schemes and acquired a demonic body. Yet she lived within the world of spiritual cultivators. Naturally, she could not disclose her identity as a demonic cultivator.

If she were to avoid a tragic end like in her previous life, she had to continue to use spiritual energy, just like how she had done for now.

See? Haven’t I managed to avert He Zhang’s schemes this time?

“Xiaomo, I don’t know why your body would have this kind of energy within it, but I hope it won’t cause any further damage to your body. After all, even old man Chi hasn’t heard of this kind of energy before. Sometimes, the unknown is also a source of potential danger.” Rong Ruihan earnestly explicated as he cautioned.

“I understand, brother Rong. But don’t worry, this energy isn’t dangerous for now.” Jun Xiaomo smiled as she consoled him.

Rong Ruihan’s eyes darkened. He hesitated for a moment again, before he pressed the issue, “Xiaomo, can you tell me why you don’t choose either spiritual energy or demonic energy, but you decided to pursue and use a third kind of unknown energy?”

Jun Xiaomo was dumbfounded by this question. She lowered her head and grimaced.

Rong Ruihan had always known that Jun Xiaomo’s eyes would on occasion reveal a sense of burden and heaviness that was not commensurate to someone of her age. This burden invariably left a sour feeling in his heart.

Just like now, he could sense that there was an incredibly burden tucked away at a deep corner of Jun Xiaomo’s heart.

And this corner of her heart was perhaps something that Jun Xiaomo had never revealed to anyone before, not even her parents.

Just what kind of burden is this, that a young girl at the tender age of seventeen would have to bear on her own? Rong Ruihan truly wanted to know what it was. Therefore, he asked Jun Xiaomo directly.

Will Jun Xiaomo answer me? Rong Ruihan waited expectantly.

After a long time, Jun Xiaomo finally responded.

“Brother Rong, have you realized that my body also absorbs demonic energy? In fact, my affinity for demonic energy outweighs my affinity for spiritual energy.”

Rong Ruihan remained taciturn, but Jun Xiaomo understood his response from the determined look in his eyes.

After chuckling bitterly to herself, Jun Xiaomo continued, “It wasn’t always like this. But after I’d trespassed the Sect’s forbidden grounds, things began to change. My body could no longer absorb any spiritual energy, and it had instead begun to absorb demonic energy.”

“Acquired demonic body…” Rong Ruihan’s eyes widened with a sense of revelation.

“That’s right. I’d acquired a demonic body. I discovered the fact that my body could no longer absorb spiritual energy earlier than my mother. My cultivation level could no longer increase, and I was stuck at the eighth level of Qi Mastery. Thus, I knew that I needed to change my refinement technique…” Jun Xiaomo did not explain how she had come across the Nineform Spirituo-Demonic Refinement Technique, but she briefly described the characteristics of true energy.

“In the end, I crippled my own cultivation and began to work my way up from the very beginning. This is also the reason why my cultivation is only at the fifth level of Qi Mastery now.”

Jun Xiaomo looked back at Rong Ruihan with a smile, “I’d intended to bury these things in the depths of my heart, but since brother Rong had asked, then there’s no reason for me to hide it any further. I trust brother Rong. I believe that you won’t reveal these things to anyone else.”

Rong Ruihan’s heart ached – he had never experienced for himself the pain of crippling his own cultivation, but he could only imagine how excruciating the pain must have been.

Just how dreadful must the circumstances be if Jun Xiaomo had had to make such a decision at such an early age?

Then, he was reminded of what Dai Yue had said – the Heavenly Peak was surrounded by covetous schemers on all four sides. Rong Ruihan’s heart sank, and he began to realize that this issue was only the tip of the iceberg.

“Is your acquisition of the demonic body related to He Zhang’s schemes?” Rong Ruihan looked sullenly at Jun Xiaomo as he queried.

Jun Xiaomo was momentarily stunned, before she grimaced as she responded, “I never thought that brother Rong would’ve guessed as much.”

She knew that she could never tell her parents or her martial brothers and sisters from Heavenly Peak because they might very possibly confront He Zhang in a fit of anger.

But Rong Ruihan was different. Jun Xiaomo believed in Rong Ruihan’s stoicism and rationality. Furthermore, this was a thing of the past as well. There was no meaning in pursuing it any further.

As expected, Rong Ruihan’s expressions only darkened and grew more frigid, but there was no trace of urgency for vengeance that surfaced in his expressions at all.

That said, after another period of silent deliberation, Rong Ruihan made a bold and outrageous suggestion to Jun Xiaomo –

“Xiaomo, have you ever considered asking senior Jun to establish his own sect?”

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