Chapter 254: I’ve Got a Backer – Master’s Behind Me!

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Several persons’ faces turned downcast as soon as they saw Tong Ruizhen’s arrival at the scene, especially the Third Elder. Faced with Tong Ruizhen’s infuriated gaze, the Third Elder completely lost his imposing aura and a trace of sheepishness and embarrassment flickered across the depths of his eyes.

Tong Ruizhen’s protective attitude towards his disciple was something that was well-known throughout the Sect. Quite apart from the fact that this entire incident had been a huge fuss unilaterally caused by Princess Linglong’s unruly behaviour, Tong Ruizhen would most certainly protect Jun Xiaomo to the very end, even if she had been the one in the wrong.

This was why the Third Elder hesitated and considered whether to persuade the princess to let Jun Xiaomo off when he heard that Jun Xiaomo was Tong Ruizhen’s new disciple.

In terms of personal abilities, there was no reason for the Third Elder to be afraid of Tong Ruizhen. That said, Tong Ruizhen held the key to innumerable formation arrays within the Sect. If he offended Tong Ruizhen, all Tong Ruizhen needed to do was to make some small alterations to these formation arrays, and there was no doubt that he would end up suffering at Tong Ruizhen’s hands.

In fact, suffering at Tong Ruizhen’s hands was the least of his concerns right now. The worst that could happen would be to have his own actions catalyze Tong Ruizhen’s support for the opposing Peak’s faction.

Since he was able to become a Sect Elder of a Greater Sect, the Third Elder was naturally a person adept at both combat abilities as well as maneuvering complex human relationships. In fact, in the moment that Tong Ruizhen appeared, his mind began to churn, and he knew that he would have to find a suitable excuse in order to appease the fire that was burning in Tong Ruizhen’s heart.

Yet despite all of the Third Elder’s meticulous contemplations, he failed to take into consideration the variables that were standing close by in the distance. He had taken Tong Ruizhen’s abilities and stature in the grand scheme of things into account. Unfortunately, Princess Linglong had not. This was especially the case since Princess Linglong was still fuming mad that her plans had been foiled, and everything she said right now would most certainly be disastrous for their situation.

Thus, before the Third Elder could come up with an appropriate countermeasure, Princess Linglong fired the first verbal salvo. She pointed at Jun Xiaomo in her anger and barked at Tong Ruizhen, “Sect Elder Tong, your disciple dared to seduce this highness’s fiancé. Don’t you think you’ve got to give an account to this highness for her actions?!”

“Account?! Hmph! I’ve only seen you bullying my disciple. I didn’t see her seduce your lover.”

Tong Ruizhen had particularly emphasized the words “lover” with undertones of humiliation and mockery, provoking Princess Linglong even further.

“You! You old fogey. As expected, the disciple takes after the master. You’re certainly thick-skinned!” Princess Linglong castigated Tong Ruizhen.

“At least I’m better than some princess of a kingdom who slanders others!” Tong Ruizhen snorted as he retorted. Princess Linglong and Tong Ruizhen had rarely interacted much with each other, and Princess Linglong had never expected to find someone within the Zephyr Sect who would not take her stature into consideration when dealing with her. Thus, she was momentarily at a loss for words, and she simply gnashed her teeth as she glared at Tong Ruizhen.

Tong Ruizhen slid off his Heavenly Crane and ran towards Jun Xiaomo’s side. He furrowed his brows immediately, before retrieving a recovery pill and feeding it straight to her.

This recovery pill was far stronger than the other three that Jun Xiaomo had earlier used. Very quickly, the excruciating pain from Jun Xiaomo’s body subsided substantially.

“Thanks, master.” Jun Xiaomo panted weakly as she thanked Tong Ruizhen. Her chest was still feeling incredibly suffocated from her injuries, and her mouth was still filled with the nauseating stench of blood.

Tong Ruizhen patted her shoulder as he responded, “Your current condition isn’t great. Don’t speak too much. Leave everything to master.”

Jun Xiaomo nodded her head, and her heart was filled with a warm sensation.

Once Tong Ruizhen ascertained that his disciple’s life was no longer in danger, his expressions changed once more. He turned around and swept his sullen gaze across Princess Linglong and her entourage of people at the pavilion.

When Jun Xiaomo first informed him that something had happened, he had only thought that a minor conflict had occurred, and she would not be in any grave danger to life and limb. After all, no matter how one looked at it, nobody within the Zephyr Sect should logically dare to make a move against Jun Xiaomo on account for Tong Ruizhen’s identity and importance within the Sect.

Thus, when Tong Ruizhen discovered that the injuries on Jun Xiaomo’s body was far more serious than he had expected, even teetering on the edge of being life-threatening, Tong Ruizhen was thoroughly enraged.

Don’t be fooled by Sect Elder Tong’s usual happy-go-lucky and warm attitude. The truth of the matter was that when he explodes in rage, even the Grand Elder and the Second Elder of the Zephyr Sect would give in to him. After all, who wouldn’t be afraid to invoke the ire of Sect Elder Tong? With his abilities, Sect Elder Tong could easily construct a massive formation array to trap the sect elders in an illusion for days and nights on end, tearing down their pride and trampling on their reputation on the ground.

This was why the Third Elder had chosen to remain taciturn.

Unfortunately, Princess Linglong did not appreciate this fact. Even though Tong Ruizhen’s darkened expressions had thoroughly frightened her, that fright lingered for nothing more than a moment. Very soon, the pride and arrogance that accompanied her stature displaced the frightened attitude within her, and she glared back at Tong Ruizhen as she viciously pressed the issue, “Sect Elder Tong, are you determined not to hand over your disciple?”

“What can you do to me if I choose not to hand her over?” Tong Ruizhen squinted his eyes as he responded with another question.

“Aren’t you afraid that I’ll report you to the king?!”

“Hahahahaha…Yue Linglong, do you think that the Zephyr Sect falls within the scope of governance of your Greenwich Kingdom’s authority? You’d even included me within the ranks too! Should I say that you’re naïve, or should I say that you’re ignorant?” Tong Ruizhen mocked, causing Yue Linglong to glare back at Tong Ruizhen with widened eyes.

“Insolence! You dare to tarnish this highness’s good name?!” Yue Linglong barked back.

Tong Ruizhen retorted with contempt, “Royalty is nothing more than a fart to us cultivators!”

This was true. To cultivators, the mortal world’s royalty truly did not count for very much. In fact, the expert cultivators who were already at the peak of the Transcendence stage of cultivation could by themselves destroy half a kingdom with incredible ease. That said, the benefits of having ties to royalty was undoubtedly the wealth and connections that accompanied it. If one cooperated with the members of the royalty, they would invariably see treasures and resources show up at their doorsteps in the form of gifts.

This was why the Stoneknife Peak’s Peakmaster had sought to establish an inextricable tie to the Greenwich Kingdom’s king to begin with. With the Greenwich Kingdom’s support, they would essentially have gained for themselves a resource vein, and they would be able to obtain anything they required in future.

This was particularly tempting, even for a Sect Leader. After all, as the Sect’s ranking grows higher, their average monthly expenditure would also see a commensurate increment. Having the Greenwich Kingdom’s support would undoubtedly mean that the pressure of maintaining a steady source of income for their expenditures would naturally be alleviated.

All this while, Zou Zilong had been standing at the side minding his own business. When he noticed that Princess Linglong was about to explode with rage again, he finally decided to step in.

“Princess Highness, I think that martial sister Xiaomo has already suffered enough punishments for her actions today. Why not…let this matter slide just like that.” Zou Zilong walked to Yue Linglong’s side and warmly cajoled her.

He could not afford to offend Sect Elder Tong because of this incident. Thus, he had hoped to write off the matter just like that.

“On what basis should I let things slide?! This slut hasn’t even admitted her own transgressions!” Yue Linglong completely ignored Zou Zilong’s cajoling. Not only was she not appeased one bit by Zou Zilong’s cajoling, she seemed to have become even more aggravated by it.

“How dare you! Who are you saying is a slut?!” Tong Ruizhen couldn’t take it any longer, and he barked with widened eyes. This was the first time he had seen somebody humiliate his own disciple in front of his very eyes.

“Isn’t it obvious? Apart from your dear disciple, who else around do you think could be a called a ‘slut’?” Yue Linglong retorted contemptuously.

“You!” Tong Ruizhen was on the brink of rolling up his sleeves and giving Princess Linglong a good beating. Who cares if she’s a Princess?! I’ll beat her up regardless!

Fortunately, Jun Xiaomo held him back in time. Tong Ruizhen turned his head back and discovered that his disciple had already stood up.

Jun Xiaomo was far more spirited right now – at least she was far better than when she was collapsed on the ground earlier, covered in wounds and scars. She smiled in gratitude to Tong Ruizhen, before addressing everyone else around, “I, Jun Xiaomo, can swear to the heavens that I’d never made any advances towards Zou Zilong nor sought to seduce him.”

“You make things sound prim and proper, but at the end of the day, it’s just a verbal promise. Anyone can do that much.” Yue Linglong mocked.

“Then, what if I use the Authentication Array on it? If there’s any modicum of a lie in my words, then I’ll be punished by the Authentication Array. At that time, anyone would be able to tell whether my words have been nothing but the truth, or a complete lie.” Jun Xiaomo spoke with absolute coolness, yet her gaze towards Princess Linglong and Zou Zilong was filled with frigidity.

“Hehehe, you’re truly a good disciple of mine. Even master had overlooked something like the Authentication Array.” Tong Ruizhen smiled in satisfaction. Then, his expression turned sharp and cold again as he barked with gusto, “How about it, Princess Linglong? Do you dare to have a bet with my disciple using the Authentication Array?”

“Bet? Why should this highness have to make any bets with you?” As soon as Yue Linglong heard Jun Xiaomo suggest the Authentication Array, her heart immediately swelled with a sense of unease. Thus, she immediately rejected Tong Ruizhen before even listening to the contents of what the bet would entail.

“Hmph! As I see it, you simply don’t dare to make a bet with my disciple, because you’re afraid that your pride and reputation would be trampled on if you lose. And if my disciple hasn’t done anything wrong like seducing your fiancé, yet you’ve harmed my disciple to such an extent, don’t you think that I should ask you for an account of your actions?!”

“You dare?!” Yue Linglong had never expected Tong Ruizhen to seek an account of her actions directly from her!

“Why wouldn’t I dare? I’ve lived for such a long time now, so what makes you think I’ll be scared of a little Greenwich Kingdom? Besides, don’t you think for one moment that the Greenwich Kingdom will be able to do anything against me – do you even realize the number of people, including your father, who’s been begging for me to set up formation arrays in the kingdom for them?!” Tong Ruizhen snorted, “So, how about it? Are you willing to make the bet?”

“This highness is not betting!” Yue Linglong absolutely did not want to make the bet. She was afraid that the bet would reveal a result that she didn’t want to see. After all, Jun Xiaomo was far too calm right now. Princess Linglong added, “When this highness arrived earlier, I personally saw her leap into the arms of brother Zou. Are you saying that what this highness has seen is false?”

Yue Linglong had twisted her allegations from “Jun Xiaomo and Zou Zilong locked in an embrace” to “Jun Xiaomo had leapt into the arms of Zou Zilong”, because this would make her seem more reasonable.

“Princess highness, when you arrived earlier, did you see me leap into your fiancé’s arms, or did you simply see your fiancé forcing me into an embrace, unwilling to let me go? I’m afraid you already know the truth yourself. Right now, you’re simply finding an excuse to bully me, so that you can ventilate the frustrations in your heart at the same time – am I not right?” Jun Xiaomo chuckled coldly.

“Rubbish!” Yue Linglong heart winced in pain as though she had just stubbed her toe. Without hesitation, she denied Jun Xiaomo’s words and glared back at Jun Xiaomo as though she were about to devour her in the very next moment.

“Princess, you’re personally well aware of the fact that what I’m saying is not rubbish either. Otherwise, there’s no reason for you to deny my words so quickly and anxiously, is there?” Jun Xiaomo spoke slowly in a matter-of-factly tone of voice. Yet at the same time, her words were far more persuasive than anything that Princess Linglong had said earlier in her fit of anger. Jun Xiaomo added, “What do you think? Am I right, martial brother Zou?”

Jun Xiaomo’s final question was directed straight towards Zou Zilong. Her voice was filled with disdain.

Previously, she had been all alone, and there was simply no way for her to bite back at anyone present. Thus, she could only bear with it and bide for time.

But now, her master had arrived, and she had a backer willing to stand up for her. What reason was there for her to let these people off any longer?

She absolutely had to settle the score!

She was going to make certain that anyone who dragged her into a mudslinging fight had to think twice about doing so ever again. Right now, she intended to return every single bit of mud to these aggressors, replete with interest.

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