Chapter 248: Despotic Princess Linglong

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Just as Zhuang Lenghui was sizing up Jun Xiaomo, Jun Xiaomo was also silently observing this lady standing before her.

To Jun Xiaomo, Zhuang Lenghui was someone that she barely knew. She neither knew why Zhuang Lenghui had approach her today, nor where her hostility towards her had come from.

Under such conditions where Zhuang Lenghui’s motives were all hidden in the dark, Jun Xiaomo knew that she could only do her best to observe her closely and attempt to uncover her hidden intentions from what little clues she could unveil.

Jun Xiaomo focused particularly on the eyes. She had always believed that a person could feign his expressions and practice to perfection the lies he told. However, the one thing that was far more difficult to conceal was the emotions and thoughts revealed in the depths of a person’s eyes. If a person harboured ill intentions, he would rarely be able to present himself with a dignified and upstanding pair of eyes.

At this moment, Jun Xiaomo had already discovered that Zhuang Lenghui possessed ulterior motives in her approach towards Jun Xiaomo.

As Zhuang Lenghui’s thoughts churned, she continued to address Jun Xiaomo with a warm and harmonious voice, “Since martial sister Xiaomo has just arrived in town, why don’t I show you around the Zephyr Sect and help you get familiarized with its surroundings? What do you say?”

Nothing to say. Jun Xiaomo murmured in her heart. She hated these people whose thoughts and actions were complete polar opposites. The feeling that she got from Zhuang Lenghui was like a poisonous snake that was primed and ready to strike. Why would anybody in the right mind agree to follow such a woman?

Thus, Jun Xiaomo smiled politely as she responded, “Thanks for the kind thoughts, martial sister Zhuang, but my master has instructed me to wait here for him. It wouldn’t be good if he can’t locate me later on.”

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that this was nothing more than an excuse. If Tong Ruizhen had left in a hurry to attend to something important, there was no way he would have simply left Jun Xiaomo without any means to get in touch with her.

Taking it one step further, even if Tong Ruizhen had truly been muddleheaded and carelessly left Jun Xiaomo behind without any means of getting in touch with her, the fact remained that Jun Xiaomo was already within the Zephyr Sect – how could she possibly go “missing” or be “uncontactable”?

Thus, it was clear to everyone that Jun Xiaomo was simply finding an excuse to reject Zhuang Lenghui.

Zhuang Lenghui pretended to be good-natured and chuckled heartily, acting as though she took things at face value as she decided not to expose Jun Xiaomo’s excuses. However, one of the female cultivators beside her were hardly as cool and composed. She immediately burst out with accusations, “Who do you think you are?! Do you think that martial sister Zhuang has invited you because she sees something in you? You’re nothing more than a piece of trash that’s only at the sixth level of Qi Mastery despite being at the age of seventeen. I don’t understand what Sect Elder Tong sees in you. How could he accept you as his personal disciple – even martial sister Zhuang, with her innate talents, …”

“Alright, that’s enough.” Zhuang Lenghui interjected and cut off the female disciple beside her. Zhuang Lenghui’s expression had darkened by several shades.

The female disciple beside her seemed to have realized that she had spoken too much, and she obsequiously shut her trap and grew taciturn.

However, her flapping lips had revealed to Jun Xiaomo some important details that she had desired to know – So, Zhuang Lenghui desires to become Tong Ruizhen’s disciple? But, why? Isn’t she the First-Sect Disciple of the Phoenixia Peak? Why does she want to become the disciple of an array master?

Jun Xiaomo didn’t have the answer to all of her question. But at the very least, she now had a better grasp of where Zhuang Lenghui’s enmity against her had come from.

Zhuang Lenghui truly lived up to her name as the First-Sect Disciple of a Peakmaster – even her acting and appearance was fairly convincing. Her darkened expression was fleeting. Within moments, she managed to adjust her expressions as she smiled apologetically at Jun Xiaomo –

“Martial sister Shen’s character has always been brash and reckless. I hope martial sister Jun doesn’t take it to heart. It was true that I’d previously expressed the desire to be Sect Elder Tong’s disciple, but he takes the view that my talents aren’t in the discipline of formation arrays, so he had rejected my request there and then. But all of that is now in the past. Since Sect Elder Tong has personally chosen martial sister Jun as his personal disciple, then this means that he’s given martial sister Jun his stamp of approval for your abilities and talents. You’ve got to be confident in yourself.”

Zhuang Lenghui’s spiel was fluent and convincing, and even filled with undertones of warmth and concern. If not for the fact that Jun Xiaomo could see the residual frigidity in the depths of Zhuang Lenghui’s eyes, Jun Xiaomo might very well have been convinced that Zhuang Lenghui was a warm, kind and helpful martial sister looking out for her.

But now, even if Zhuang Lenghui were to make a thousand and one promises to her, Jun Xiaomo would never trust Zhuang Lenghui that easily.

“Thanks, martial sister.” Jun Xiaomo smiled back politely. As she refrained from exposing Zhuang Lenghui’s pretensions, she also consciously made an effort to keep her at an arm’s length.

After all, when all was said and done, she was a newcomer treading on foreign ground, and she knew that she had to feign and maintain cordiality at the very least.

Just then, a coquettish voice rang out from not too far away – “Hmph! Zhuang Lenghui, are you pretending to be a good person again? What’s the matter? Who are you trying to lure into your camp now, huh?”

Jun Xiaomo had never expected anyone to speak so forthrightly without regard to Zhuang Lenghui’s pride and reputation. Jun Xiaomo raised an eyebrow quizzically as she looked towards the source of that new voice.

A light-gold figure drifted into Jun Xiaomo’s field of vision. Complex patterns of clouds were embroidered all over her exquisite clothes, reminding Jun Xiaomo of the palace garments that Jun Xiaomo had once seen in the Inferno Kingdom’s palace grounds.

Palace garments? A fleeting notion flashed across Jun Xiaomo’s mind, but she was unable to latch onto it.

As soon as she saw the other uninvited guest, a fleeting, scornful look surfaced in Zhuang Lenghui’s eyes, before it sank back to the depths of her gaze.

Zhuang Lenghui presented herself with an amiable countenance once more as she addressed the lady approaching them, “Princess Linglong has a great sense of humour. I’d noticed that martial sister Jun had only just arrived at the Zephyr Sect and might not be too familiar with its surroundings, so I had only intended to show her around. I’ve never had any intentions of involving her with anything more.”

“Just arrived?” It was only now that Yue Linglong noticed Jun Xiaomo’s unfamiliar appearances, “Yo, you’re that fella that had become Sect Elder Tong’s formal disciple even though you’re only at the sixth level of Qi Mastery?”

That fella?! Jun Xiaomo found herself speechless. Why don’t these people seem to be able to address others properly? One calls me a ‘little kitten’, while the other calls me ‘that fella’…

If not for the fact that she had personally seen the words “Zephyr Sect” etched on the sign on the main gate, she might well begin to suspect whether they had come to the right place to begin with.

Jun Xiaomo’s silence irked Yue Linglong. She glared at Jun Xiaomo as she pressed the issue, “Hey, I’m talking to you. Are you Sect Elder Tong’s newest disciple?”

Jun Xiaomo found Yue Linglong’s prima donna attitude rather unbearable. That said, this was still far better than Zhuang Lenghui whose thoughts and actions were complete polar opposites. Thus, she was still more willing to interact with Yue Linglong.

“I’m indeed Sect Elder Tong’s newest disciple.” Jun Xiaomo calmly responded, as though she were affirming a universal truth.

Yue Linglong folded her arms and squinted her eyes as she sized up Jun Xiaomo. Moments later, she clicked her lips and remarked, “Your appearances aren’t too shabby. I just wonder whether your talent for cultivation is inversely proportionate to your appearances…”

In other words, Jun Xiaomo’s appearances were good, but her talent for cultivation was far too shabby.

It was evident that Yue Linglong had also heard on the grapevine that Jun Xiaomo was only at the sixth level of Qi Mastery. Like most other disciples around, it was evident that she couldn’t understand why Sect Elder Tong had picked a cultivator at only the sixth level of Qi Mastery as his personal disciple.

Furthermore, Yue Linglong was in fact the princess of a kingdom, and both her talent and abilities were fairly decent. She looked up to the strong, and she despised the weak. Thus, it was clear that she had a fair amount of disdain for Jun Xiaomo, a person only at the sixth level of Qi Mastery even though she was already seventeen years-old.

However, Jun Xiaomo was hardly mad at all. If she were to get incensed and triggered by everyone who derided her and looked upon her with contempt, her blood pressure would already have been through the roof by now.

She looked back at Yue Linglong with indifference as she retorted, “If Princess Linglong has any doubts as to my talent for cultivation, you can bring your queries straight to Sect Elder Tong and check whether he’d favoured me for my looks or for my talents.”

Jun Xiaomo spoke with a matter-of-fact tone of voice, causing Yue Linglong to feel incredibly aggrieved, as though her earlier jibe at Jun Xiaomo had landed on nothing but soft cotton.

Not only that, she even felt that Jun Xiaomo had retaliated against her with a blow of her own. Thus, she grew maddened.

Yue Linglong snorted with contempt and haughtily raised her chin as she glanced back at Jun Xiaomo, “You only know how to fall back to Sect Elder Tong. Do you think its amazing that you’ve become a formal disciple of the Zephyr Sect? The road ahead is still long and arduous, and fraught with many uncertainties! A newbie should act like a newbie. Otherwise, you won’t even know when you stumble and fall, and perhaps even die!”

On the other side, Zhuang Lenghui who had earlier acted as though she were a helpful martial sister was now completely silent. Together with her lackeys, Zhuang Lenghui had taken a step back and were watching the present scene as mere observers, as though they wanted to see for themselves how Jun Xiaomo was going to react to the new development.

Jun Xiaomo couldn’t help but rub her temples in dismay and sigh in her heart – Why do I always find myself in such troublesome situations wherever I go?

Just as Jun Xiaomo was deliberating about whether to duke it out with the troublemaking princess in a battle of words, the deep booming voice of a male cultivator rang out from the other end of the pavilion.

“Princess Highness, I’d been searching for you for a long time. Turns out that you’re here.”

Jun Xiaomo turned around and discovered that the voice came from a male cultivator who wore garments that looked fairly similar to that which Zhuang Lenghui was wearing. The only difference was that his garments were made for male cultivators, while Zhuang Lenghui’s clothes were made for female cultivators.

“Brother Zou, I’ve finally found you. I’ve also been looking for you for quite some time…” As soon as Yue Linglong saw the person who had just arrived, the earlier headstrong and unruly attitude completely vanished into thin air, and she instantly transformed into an obedient and coquettish little girl. She skipped over to the male cultivator’s side and began to nestle up to him as though she were weak and spineless.

Zou Zilong swiftly pulled Yue Linglong into an embrace, but his gaze landed directly on Jun Xiaomo’s body.

“Are you Sect Elder Tong’s new disciple? Princess is right – if you don’t wish to perish, you’d do well to stay out of trouble. Otherwise, if you enter places you shouldn’t enter or step on toes that you shouldn’t tread on, you won’t even know what hit you when trouble arrives.” Zou Zilong cautioned Jun Xiaomo as a senior would chide a junior.

Princess Linglong evidently enjoyed how Zou Zilong appeared to be protecting her, so she played along and tugged gingerly at Zou Zilong’s sleeves as she chirped, “Alright, alright, she’s also just arrived at the Sect after all. She’s from a small, Secondary Sect, and she might not know about all these things. Brother Zou, you don’t have to be so harsh on her.”

Jun Xiaomo sincerely applauded Yue Linglong’s ability to change her expressions just like a chameleon. At the same time, Jun Xiaomo also knew her limits – each and every person standing before her right now stood on firmer ground with stronger backing than her. If she offended these people, even Tong Ruizhen might not be able to protect her.

Thus, she knew that she had to swallow this bitter pill for now. She hung her head low and made a fist and palm salute, “Martial brother Zou has the right to teach me a lesson. Thanks, martial brother Zou, for your guidance.”

Princess Linglong glanced disdainfully at Jun Xiaomo once more, before she tugged gingerly at Zou Zilong’s clothes as she remarked, “Brother Zou, I’m tired. Escort me back to my room, alright?”

“Yes, Princess Highness.” The manner in which Zou Zilong addressed Jun Xiaomo and Ye Linglong was truly as different as the east was from the west. In the blink of an eye, his voice was far less harsh, and laced with such harmonious undertones as though it were filled with honey. Goosebumps immediately crept all over Jun Xiaomo’s arms.

In fact, what Jun Xiaomo found the most astonishing was Zou Zilong’s gaze that had landed on her body – it was completely different from how Zou Zilong had treated her earlier. Had she lowered her head and shut her eyes, she would still be able to feel the sticky, gooey sensation of his gaze that lingered on her body.

In fact, his gaze was no different from the peculiar gaze that she had experienced earlier before the arrival of Zhuang Lenghui and Yue Linglong.

Could the person who had been staring at her earlier be none other than Zou Zilong? If so, why? What did she have that Zou Zilong coveted?

Just as Jun Xiaomo was immersed in her own thoughts, Zou Zilong left together with Yue Linglong, and the sticky and gooey gaze on her body also vanished without a trace.

A discreet smile crept up the corner of Zhuang Lenghui’s lips, as though she had just seen something interesting. Her eyes revealed a crafty, scheming glint. Unfortunately, Jun Xiaomo failed to notice this.

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