Chapter 199: Consolation in the Deep of the Night

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

In the end, Jun Linxuan did not give Jun Xiaomo any definitive answer about establishing a new sect. That said, he no longer met her idea with the same amount of rejection and disdain as before.

When all was said and done, Jun Linxuan was still far more concerned about the safety and future of his disciples from the Heavenly Peak than the Dawn Sect as a whole. Furthermore, the Dawn Sect’s recent acts of bullying had left him utterly disappointed.

After Jun Xiaomo and Jun Linxuan departed from the meeting room, the Dawn Sect’s Fifth Elder snorted disdainfully, “Like father, like daughter. Jun Xiaomo’s temper is even worse than her father’s. How dare she oppose us seniors like that! She’s become far too unruly and headstrong!”

The Second Elder sipped his tea as he calmly responded, “The young are brash and reckless. She hasn’t experienced life enough to understand that her parents cannot possibly protect her for her whole life. That’s why she doesn’t have any regard for anyone. That said, it’s only going to be a matter of time before she falls hard.”

“I’m afraid that we won’t have to wait too long for that either, huh? Hmph. Didn’t those Heavenly Peak brats proclaim themselves to be extremely capable? We’ll give them the chance to showcase their solidarity and abilities here. Let’s see if they have the ability to place well in the group battles then.” The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster chuckled sardonically.

Even though they were both Peakmasters, he absolutely hated Jun Linxuan. After all, everyone would immediately think of the Heavenly Peak first whenever the Dawn Sect was mentioned. The Heavenly Peak’s ever-growing glory meant that the Pill Cauldron Peak had always been left in their shadows. This was how humble and meek the Pill Cauldron Peak’s existence had always been.

The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster had gnashed his teeth while staring at the Heavenly Peak for far too long, and he knew that this was the prime opportunity to get back at them. After all, the Heavenly Peak disciples were to participate in the upcoming group battles, and their fate was very much an unknown at this point. The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster was naturally overjoyed at the present development.

He could already taste victory – he could already see Jun Linxuan’s expression when half his disciples perished over the course of the group battles.

In fact, almost everyone in the meeting room thought the same way. The only reason why nobody spoke their minds was because they did not trust each other with the deepest, darkest contemplations of their hearts.

Some wanted to harm Jun Linxuan. Some wanted to obtain for themselves the innumerable treasures and resources in Jun Linxuan’s possession. Some simply found Jun Linxuan to be an eyesore, and they were pleased to see his misfortune. Then, there were some others who were simply content with minding their own business. Even though these others did not bear any grudge against Jun Linxuan, they did not intend to stand up and speak out for Jun Linxuan either – they did not want to draw flak upon themselves.

He Zhang sighed pretentiously as he remarked, “Actually, our intentions were good, but we’d never expected martial brother Jun to be so rash to even broach the prospects of decoupling themselves from the Sect.”

“Hah, they can do whatever they want. It doesn’t affect us anyway. Regardless, the Heavenly Peak will forever remain a part of the Dawn Sect. They’re not going to be able to shift the entire Peak away after all!” The Fifth Elder laughed sardonically, “It’s fine if he wishes to leave the Dawn Sect – but the price to pay is to leave all of his wealth and treasures behind for us. They can leave with their bodies intact then.”

Besides, the Heavenly Peak was going to sustain heavy losses after this iteration of the group battles. At that time, with only Jun Linxuan and his wife supporting the entire peak, what kind of a fuss would they be able to create?

The others tacitly agreed with the Fifth Elder’s spiel, and contemptuous smirks crept up all of their lips as they waited expectantly for the fruits of their schemes.

Jun Xiaomo and Jun Linxuan’s return in low spirits caused all of the Heavenly Peak disciples to be engulfed with a thick, stale air of misery. Wei Gaolang’s face turned red like a tomato in rage. He clenched his fists and cursed, “These old fogeys! Old cronies! Bastards! They’re bullying us!!!”

A whole string of curse words shot out of his lips before Chen Feiyu rapped his head with some measure of exasperation. Wei Gaolang reflexively clutched at his head as he murmured, “Martial brother Chen’s bullying me again…”

Jun Xiaomo was incensed as well. But things had already come to a head, and no amount of infuriation would be able to turn things around. It was just like what the old fogeys had said – the list of participants had already been submitted, and the organizing committee would never allow a change in this regard, much less allow them to back out of the competition. This was part of the rules of the competition.

They had undoubtedly underestimated He Zhang and his cronies’ viciousness.

“Given how things have turned out, we can only seriously consider how to maximize our chances for the upcoming competition.” Jun Xiaomo sighed as she concluded.

Everyone agreed with Jun Xiaomo’s thoughts. Thus, they began to huddle around together as they discussed the best strategies to approach these upcoming group battles with.

The night was still as waters, and the cool of the night swept over the lands with a balmy warmth that washed away the frustrations of the day. The group battles were starting the next day, but Jun Xiaomo found herself tossing and turning in bed, unable to fall asleep. Thus, she got out of bed, walked to the windowsill and gazed into the cold, barren streets outside of the inn as she attempted to clear her heavy-laden mind.

The orange glow of the candlelight sat by the windowsill, silently casting a long and lonely shadow on the curtains by the side. It was as though the shadow were flickering as a result of the burdensome thoughts and complicated emotions weighing heavily on its heart.

Du, du. The door rang out with two soft thuds.

Jun Xiaomo was slightly taken aback, and she was jolted back to her senses from her own thoughts. She furrowed her brows – It’s already so late. Who would be looking for me at this time of the night?

“Who’s that?” Jun Xiaomo asked without opening the door.

Her door was sealed with a formation array. As long as she did not open the door to her room, her room would remain very much a safe haven for her.

“It’s me.” A low and firm voice rang out from outside the door.

Brother Rong? Jun Xiaomo lowered her vigilance as she walked to the door and opened it.

Rong Ruihan stood at the door. The clothes on his body were neat and tidy, and they even carried a faint musky scent of the winds and dirt around. It was evident that he had only just returned to the inn.

“I’ve made a trip to the Inferno Kingdom a few days ago, and I’ve only just managed to make my way back this evening. I noticed that you haven’t slept yet, so I decided to check in on you.” Rong Ruihan spoke warmly.

Jun Xiaomo smiled, “Brother Rong’s too kind and thoughtful.”

The truth of the matter was that Rong Ruihan did not have any reason to rush back to begin with. After all, this competition hardly concerned Rong Ruihan. That said, Jun Xiaomo knew that there was no reason for her to bring this up – she knew full well in her heart the reason for Rong Ruihan’s speedy return.

“If you can’t sleep, would you like to go out for a walk?” Rong Ruihan glanced at Jun Xiaomo’s bed and noticed that her blanket was still folded neatly in the corner.

“Alright. I was just thinking of going out to let off some steam too.” Jun Xiaomo chuckled.

Rong Ruihan walked over to the veranda and leaned against the railing.

“What’s the matter? Something left you so frustrated that you couldn’t sleep?”

Jun Xiaomo sighed before she responded with a bitter smile on her face, “Nothing escapes your eyes, huh?”

“Then are you willing to speak to brother Rong about it? If there’s anything troubling you, speaking about it will make you feel better.”

Jun Xiaomo shook her head wanly, “It’s a long story. I don’t know where to start from.”

Rong Ruihan raised his eyebrows quizzically, “We’ve got time.”

“Let’s put it this way. I’ll be participating in the group battles tomorrow. I hope brother Rong will wish me luck.” Jun Xiaomo plastered a lighthearted smile on her face, but anyone would be able to tell that it was a smile filled with frustrations and exasperation.

“Group battles? Why are you participating in the group battles?” Rong Ruihan furrowed his brows.

“Who else could have done this apart from those crooks?” Jun Xiaomo shrugged, “Those old fogeys from the Sect are getting anxious, so they’ve altered the list of participants for the group battles again. Haha…this time they’ve included almost everyone from the Heavenly Peak in the list of participants. They really have faith in us, don’t they?”

A swathe of fury surged up within Rong Ruihan’s heart. If he possessed the requisite ability, he would not hesitate one moment to wipe out and obliterate those old fogeys from the Dawn Sect!

“Then, what are you guys going to do?”

“What else can we do? We can only deal with it in our stride.” As Jun Xiaomo spoke, her eyes grew frosty and cold, “But if they think that such a predicament would put us at our wits’ ends, then they can’t be any more mistaken. Us people from the Heavenly Peak will never be beaten down so easily.”

“Mm, I believe in Xiaomo’s abilities.” Rong Ruihan patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulders in a reassuring fashion, “But I think that the best long-term solution is still to break away from the Dawn Sect and have senior Jun establish his own Sect.”

“I’ve already reminded my father about this matter earlier, and I think he’s starting to warm up to this idea. At the very least, he’s no longer insisting on remaining at the Dawn Sect anymore.”

“That’s a given. Anyone faced with such oppression would naturally find themselves utterly disappointed.”

Jun Xiaomo’s expressions became downcast, and she grew taciturn. The truth of the matter was that she was the same as well. If not for the fact that she had experienced the Dawn Sect’s schemes and ploys against her from her previous lifetime, she would similarly have been reluctant to depart from the Dawn Sect too.

After all, the Dawn Sect was the place that she grew up in…

Jun Xiaomo’s wan expressions left Rong Ruihan’s heart a little sour and aching. He hesitated for a moment, before he walked up to Jun Xiaomo’s back and practically embraced her from the back.

“Brother Rong, what are you doing?!” Jun Xiaomo’s body suddenly tensed up involuntarily.

It was not because she was guarded against Rong Ruihan – it was just that such an act felt far too intimate for her comfort. She was incredibly ashamed, and her entire body felt ill at ease.

“Don’t be nervous.” Rong Ruihan whispered into Jun Xiaomo’s ears.

At the same time, his fingers wrapped themselves rightly around Jun Xiaomo’s earlobes as they pressed on her earrings.

Earrings? Jun Xiaomo suddenly recalled that those earrings were indeed gifted to her by Rong Ruihan, and he had even imbued the earrings with some of his energies. It definitely possessed some defensive abilities.

Rong Ruihan’s fingers glowed with a red light, and Jun Xiaomo felt her earrings grow faintly warm.

Naturally, this was not a mere illusion on her part.

Moments later, Rong Ruihan stepped back again, before patting on Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder as he remarked, “It’s all done.”

Jun Xiaomo touched her earrings, and she discovered that there were still some lingering traces of warmth on it.

“This is…”

“I’ve just increased the amount of power stored within these earrings, and it should increase the defensive abilities of these earrings. This way, you’ll have an added layer of safety during the upcoming group battles.” Rong Ruihan calmly explained.

Jun Xiaomo lifted her head and met with Rong Ruihan’s eyes, but she did not discover any peculiarity in his gaze.

Seems like I’ve been too sensitive there… Jun Xiaomo chuckled bashfully to herself. At the same time, she felt a little bit guilty for her overreaction to Rong Ruihan’s earlier actions.

“Thanks, brother Rong.” Jun Xiaomo laughed, before smiling radiantly and sincerely at Rong Ruihan.

After such a minor misunderstanding with Rong Ruihan, the earlier sullenness and frustrations of her heart had also dissipated substantially.

At the very least, she possessed a wealth of experience from her previous life, and she firmly believed that He Zhang and his lackeys would never be able to have their way as easily as they thought they would.

Rong Ruihan’s gaze darkened momentarily. He had previously indeed been very tempted to pull Jun Xiaomo into a deep embrace and tell her not to be too worried. But Jun Xiaomo’s tense response and verbal rejection, coupled with his own rationality, told him that he had to suppress the inner desires of his heart.

Fortunately, there was still Jun Xiaomo’s earrings…

“You’re welcome. It seems like you’ll be able to sleep properly tonight, then?” Rong Ruihan collected his thoughts before he quipped.

“That’s right, and it’s all thanks to brother Rong~” Jun Xiaomo punched Rong Ruihan’s shoulder gently, “We’ll leave things at that, then. I’ve still got to wake up early to get ready for the group battles tomorrow, so I should try and get some shut-eye right now. Brother Rong must be tired as well. Have a good night’s rest.”

“Mm, I will. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, brother Rong.”

After Jun Xiaomo bid Rong Ruihan goodnight, she turned back and entered her own room. Before shutting the door, she waved goodbye to Rong Ruihan once more, gesturing for him to return to his room to have a good rest as well.

Rong Ruihan nodded his head. Yet even after Jun Xiaomo shut the door of her room, he remained outside, immersed in his own thoughts.

Then, it was only when the moonlit shadows on the ground drew longer and more distant that he snapped out of his stupor, turned around, and walked back to his own room.

Under the shade of a large tree, a man and a woman walked out at the same time.

“Who would’ve thought that Jun Xiaomo still has the heart to have a date at night when the group battles are just around the corner?” Yu Wanrou softly remarked as she turned her gaze away from the third-floor veranda to Qin Lingyu who laid beside her.

Since there was no longer a need for Qin Lingyu to participate in the group battles tomorrow, Yu Wanrou had after much coaxing and pestering managed to convince Qin Lingyu to take a walk with her around the Heavenly Crane Mountain and enjoy its night scenery.

As for whether this had been an innocent trip around the Heavenly Crane Mountain, or whether it involved additional “activities”, this was something privy only to the two of them.

But little did they know that when their little rendezvous at night had come to an end, they would even be treated to a little “show”. From their perspective, Rong Ruihan had clearly locked with Jun Xiaomo in a warm embrace earlier.

Yu Wanrou thought that Jun Xiaomo must have been silly to have given up Qin Lingyu to pursue a man like Rong Ruihan. After all, no matter how strong he was, Rong Ruihan was undoubtedly a demonic cultivator, and no good will come out of a relationship between a spiritual cultivator and a demonic cultivator.

Thus, she was hardly jealous that Jun Xiaomo was able to earn the fancy of the first prince of the Inferno Kingdom, Rong Ruihan. As far as Yu Wanrou was concerned, securing Qin Lingyu’s heart was the most important thing to her for now.

Her earlier remarks had solely been designed for the purpose of testing the waters to see what kind of reaction she would get from Qin Lingyu.

She somehow got the feeling that Qin Lingyu’s attitude towards Jun Xiaomo has had a marked change ever since Jun Xiaomo had reemerged after disappearing from the rest of the Sect for over one year.

What kind of a joke is this?! Is Qin Lingyu really going to rekindle his love for Jun Xiaomo after so much time and effort on my part winning his affection?

Heaven forbid! I’m not going to allow any other woman to exist in his heart!

Qin Lingyu was He Zhang’s First-Seat Disciple, and he had under He Zhang’s tutelage already learnt all about the nuances of human interactions, politics, and the like. How could he not notice these little contemplations of Yu Wanrou’s heart?

Truth be told, his heart did toil with a strange sense of indignation when he saw Jun Xiaomo’s intimacy with Rong Ruihan earlier.

Yet this sense of indignation was fleeting. As soon as he brought to the forefront of his mind the fact that his relationship with Jun Xiaomo was no longer of the fiancé-fiancée status, this reminder immediately jolted him back to his senses as though an awl had been driven through the depths of his mind.

At the start, when Jun Xiaomo was infatuated with him, he was absolutely convinced that she would never have a change of heart so easily. He was even convinced that if Jun Xiaomo were to broach the issue of rescinding the marriage arrangement, her heart would be shattered in a million pieces as she was doing so.

But as things panned out, Jun Xiaomo was completely unfazed by the rescission of their marriage arrangement. Her unflappable attitude towards the rescission made Qin Lingyu suspect whether she even had feelings for him to begin with.

This left Qin Lingyu a sour and bitter feeling in his heart, as though he was the one who had just been abandoned by his fiancée.

And it was precisely because of such suspicions festering in his heart that he began to grow indignant. Qin Lingyu was a prideful man with a large ego, and he had never expected to be abandoned like that! Jun Xiaomo was the first for him!

Qin Lingyu couldn’t describe what kind of peculiar sensation it was that he was experiencing. All he knew was that it was uncomfortable, and it did not feel good at all.

Forget it. Who knows whether that woman would still be able to come back alive after tomorrow? Qin Lingyu’s eyes squinted as he placated himself.

“It’s getting late. We should go.” Qin Lingyu collected his thoughts as he quipped to Yu Wanrou.

Yu Wanrou’s soft and dainty arms wrapped around his as she softly smiled, “Alright.” But her heart was instead sour and bitter.

Qin Lingyu had clearly been distracted earlier, and he had not heard a single word of what she had just said.

In the depths of her heart, Yu Wanrou hoped and prayed that Jun Xiaomo would thoroughly perish in the group battles tomorrow.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter