Chapter 267: The Vacillation Between Hope and Despair in Ye Xiuwen’s Heart

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

As soon as she saw Ye Xiuwen, the demonic cultivator appeared as though she recalled something important, and a fleeting trace of absent-mindedness flickered across the depths of her eyes.

But she quickly collected herself, and the depths of her eyes became still and iced-over once more. Her pupils quivered with vigilance.

Over the last few days, she gathered from her observations that this man’s surname was Jun, and his full name was Jun Ziwen. Jun Xiaomo could not recall from her memories of her previous life any person in the cultivation world with such a name. Furthermore, she was unsure whether this man simply liked to keep to himself, or he was just unwilling to interact with Qin Shanshan and the others.

That said, she could tell that Jun Ziwen was different from Qin Shanshan and the rest of the Dawn Sect disciples. At the very least, Qin Shanshan and her martial brothers would never of their own volition bury the artefacts that had lost their master into the ground instead of keeping them for themselves. Yet, despite all of that, Jun Xiaomo knew that this was not a determinative as to whether this man was harmless or not.

Jun Xiaomo couldn’t understand why Jun Ziwen wanted to travel together with Qin Shanshan and the rest of her entourage. She knew that Jun Ziwen must have his own reason for doing so, and before eliciting and making clear what exactly his purposes were, she knew it would be imprudent to let her guard down around him.

Just as the black-garbed lady was sizing up Ye Xiuwen vigilantly, Ye Xiuwen was similarly sizing up the black-garbed lady as well.

The first thing that he noticed was the distinct pair of eyes on the black-garbed lady. Even though the lady was covered in black material from top to toe such that she seemed almost to blend into the dark of the night, the lady’s sparkling pair of eyes gleamed so brightly with clarity as though they were a pair of twinkling stars in the night sky. From her eyes, he could see a sense of unwavering resolution and determination.

The pair of eyes that was transfixed on himself was incredibly frigid, and the slight squint in her almond-shaped eyes seemed to imbue her gaze with a certain sense of sharp incisiveness to it.

For some reason, when he saw this pair of eyes staring at him, Ye Xiuwen couldn’t help but think of his little martial sister, Jun Xiaomo.

Jun Xiaomo had a pair of almond-shaped eyes as well. When she stared at others with her eyes, her eyes were so emotive that they appeared as bright and gleaming as the morning dew on the stamen of flower petals. Under the illumination of the sunlight, the refraction of light from these dews would undeniably cut through the heart and tug at a person’s soul.

At the same time, her eyes would appear completely different when she looked at her enemies. Her gaze would become as sharp and incisive as an unsheathed sword, and the frigid glint in her eye was so oppressive that it could stifle the breaths of her opponents.

And this was how she appeared right now.

Ye Xiuwen tightened his fists. He suddenly had the urge to find out this lady’s true appearances – could she possibly be her little martial sister whom everyone alleged had already perished? If this lady were not Jun Xiaomo, then what reason did she have to come after the Dawn Sect disciples with such a roaring vengeance?

The black-garbed lady squinted her eyes. She was rather displeased with how Ye Xiuwen was sizing her up. Thus, without any warning, she suddenly launched an attack at Ye Xiuwen. Her appearances that seemed to almost fade into the dark of the night meant that Ye Xiuwen nearly failed to respond in time.

Fortunately, Ye Xiuwen’s rich combat experience coupled with his wind-based spiritual root meant that he still managed to react nimbly to the oncoming attack. He quickly came to his senses and dodged the black-garbed lady’s attack. Then, in the very next moment, the black-garbed lady capitalized on the momentum of the first attack to immediately send a second strike straight towards Ye Xiuwen. Thus, both of them began to duke it out with each other in battle, and their figures became nothing more than a flurry of images that seemed to fade in and out of the dark and otherwise still night scenery.

Ye Xiuwen chose to hold back the strength of his attacks because he was still suspicious of the true identity of the lady in black, and he was thus reticent to risk injuring her. As a result, the duel became increasingly more difficult for him.

At the same time, the combat abilities of the black-garbed lady startled Ye Xiuwen. He recalled that when he was separated from his little martial sister back then, she only had a cultivation level of the fifth level of Qi Mastery. Thus, it suddenly dawned on Ye Xiuwen that the prospects of the lady in black being his little martial sister was completely ridiculous.

Unless she had encountered some form of miracle, it was nigh impossible that his little martial sister could have improved to such an extent within a short span of twelve years. It could not be understated that he had only managed to attain the Nascent Soul stage of cultivation within such a short period of time because of his fortunate encounter after falling into the depths of the Death’s Gorge.

If this lady in black were really his little martial sister, it was reasonable to conclude that she would be unable to withstand even ten percent of his total abilities. But as things were right now, he had already used up to sixty percent of his overall abilities, and yet his opponent still seemed to be going strong.

As he thought things through logically and rationally, Ye Xiuwen grew more and more disheartened. With a flick of his wrist, a spirit sword emanating a frosty, frigid intent appeared in his hands. Ye Xiuwen had used this spirit sword to slay the lives of innumerable spirit beasts and demonic creatures within the Death’s Gorge. Under the baptism of the blood of these creatures, the spirit sword had already begun to develop a frigid sword intent of its own.

The black-garbed lady was caught slightly off guard, and the frigid sword intent expelled by the spirit sword forced her back a few steps. She struggled to keep her balance.

“Don’t force my hand, otherwise I won’t hold back anymore.” Ye Xiuwen cautioned coldly. His eyes were now devoid of the earlier multitude of emotions.

The lady in black looked back up and stared at the spirit sword in Ye Xiuwen’s hands, and a trace of bewilderment and shock flickered across her eyes.

“Hang on a minute.” The lady in black noticed that Ye Xiuwen had already turned around and was motioning to leave this place, so she called out to him and held him back, “I noticed that you’re not like the rest of the other Dawn Sect disciples. Why did you choose to travel together with them? Also, why didn’t you stop me when I killed Qin Shanshan earlier?”

“Lady, I don’t even know you, so is there really any reason why I should account for these details to you?” Ye Xiuwen looked back at the lady in black as he responded placidly.

“This…” The lady in black knew that there was simply no reason for her opponent to reveal these details to her.

In fact, she was even slightly astonished by her own actions in this regard. After all, why did she feel compelled to ask all these of this stranger? The only thing she knew was that this urge in her heart had only arisen after she noticed the spirit sword in the man’s hand.

After deliberating for a moment, the lady in black glanced at Ye Xiuwen as she asked, “Don’t you want to leave these haunted grounds? You must have realized by now, haven’t you? You’ve all been walking around in circles over the last few days, and there’s no way of leaving the vicinity of these parts of the wilderness at all.”

Ye Xiuwen calmly responded, “Isn’t this a result of your efforts?”

“That’s right. This is indeed a result of my efforts.” As she claimed credit for her efforts, the lady in black seemed to puff up her chest in pride, and her eyes gleamed brightly in joy. She lifted her chin and nodded affirmatively as she added, “How about it? Let’s make an exchange, shall we? You tell me your motivation for travelling together with the Dawn Sect disciples, and I’ll tell you how you can get out of this bewildering place.”

The behaviour of the lady in black once again reminded Ye Xiuwen of Jun Xiaomo.

Ye Xiuwen shifted his gaze away from the lady in black as he fervently suppressed the stifling feeling swelling up from the depths of his heart. Without looking back at the lady in black, he calmly added, “I wish to gain entry to the Dawn Sect’s grounds through these disciples so that I can deal with my own affairs within.”

The lady in black had expected Ye Xiuwen to reveal much more than that. How could she have expected the man’s explanation to comprise of only one simple statement?

“Is that it?!” The lady in black exclaimed with widened eyes.

“I can only say this much. Forgive me for not being able to reveal any more than that.” Ye Xiuwen responded with an intransigent tone of voice.

Just like how the lady in black appeared to be guarded against Ye Xiuwen, Ye Xiuwen was similarly vigilant against the intentions of the lady in black. After all, he was unclear of the identity of the lady in black and her true motives, and there was thus no way he could establish and determine whether the lady in black was of no threat to him.

Most importantly, Ye Xiuwen had already ruled out the possibility that the lady in black was none other than Jun Xiaomo. Thus, he was hardly interested in the identity of the lady in black any longer.

On the other hand, the lady in black was evidently rather displeased with Ye Xiuwen’s response to her question. She raised an eyebrow curiously and pretended to be vicious as she quipped, “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll trap you guys here for the rest of your lives?”

“If this lady indeed has that kind of intention, then I will capture you and use unconventional means to force you to reveal the method to leave this place.” Ye Xiuwen remained completely unfazed as he responded to her hypothetical question.

“You…you’re unscrupulous!” The lady in black had never expected a person with such dignified appearances to even think about using such despicable means to achieve his own goals.

“That would be the easiest method, wouldn’t you say? Besides, I’ve not got any grievances against you to begin with, yet you’ve trapped me in these parts without any reason. I’m a human as well – am I not allowed to get angry over this incident at all?” Ye Xiuwen rebuked the lady in black, leaving her completely speechless.

“Alright, you got me there.” The lady in black shrugged her shoulders.

She had never thought to treat Jun Ziwen as one of her enemies to begin with. She hated the people from the Dawn Sect, particularly Dawn Sect’s Sect Leader, the Sect Elders and the Peakmasters. On the other hand, Jun Ziwen was to her no more than a mere stranger who had sprouted up out of nowhere. She did not recall any such character from her memories, so she knew that there was no reason for her to hate this man to begin with.

It would suffice if this man refrained from interfering with her plans.

“Since your objective is to infiltrate the Dawn Sect, then let me tell you my objective as well. The reason why I had earlier trapped all of you was to steal and assume Qin Shanshan’s identity so that I can infiltrate the Dawn Sect. You can say that our goals are somewhat aligned.” The lady in black explained to Ye Xiuwen.

“Steal and assume Qin Shanshan’s identity?” Ye Xiuwen casted a complicated look at the lady in black, before glancing over at Qin Shanshan’s corpse that was on the floor.

The lady in black smiled provocatively as she quipped, “Watch and learn.”

As she finished speaking, she retrieved a talisman from her Interspatial Ring and walked over to Qin Shanshan’s corpse. Then, she slashed Qin Shanshan’s wrist and collected a few drops of her blood on the talisman itself.

The blood in Qin Shanshan’s body had mostly coagulated and hardened, but it was nevertheless possible to harvest some of her blood if she squeezed her wrist.

As soon as the talisman absorbed Qin Shanshan’s blood, it glowed with a soulless blue light. The lady in black picked up the talisman and prepared to apply it to the back of her arm.

“Hang on a minute.” Ye Xiuwen called out to the lady in black, “Could…could I please take a look at your true appearances first?”

He already knew what this lady in black was about to do. He had been introduced to that talisman by his little martial sister some time ago. The talisman was called a Masquerade Talisman, and it allowed a person to assume and wear the complete appearance of another person.

Ye Xiuwen also know why he had just called out to the lady in black – he wanted to ascertain his suspicions so that he could have a peace of mind.

He knew that he could not reveal his identity before he clarified the origins of her whereabouts. If the ambit of this lady’s hatred and vengeance encompassed the entire Dawn Sect, including the Heavenly Peak, then the revelation of his identity would undoubtedly jeopardize his efforts to infiltrate the Dawn Sect to rescue his martial brothers from the Heavenly Peak.

The lady in black raised her eyebrows curiously as she sized up Ye Xiuwen once more. Then, she gave a curt and straightforward response, “Alright.”

As she finished speaking, she stored her talisman within her Interspatial Ring, before proceeding to remove the black garments on her body.

“Wait, wait, wait!” The veins on Ye Xiuwen’s head throbbed as he waved his hands for her to stop, “Are you just going to remove all of your black clothes in front of me?”

A crafty gleam flashed across the lady’s eyes as she responded with another question, “Why can’t I?”

“Don’t you want to cover up first?” Ye Xiuwen furrowed his brows.

“Why should I cover up?” As the lady in black spoke, she yanked the black garments off her chest. Ye Xiuwen was astounded by the lady’s brazen attitude, and his entire body stiffened up. Just as he was about to look away, he discovered that under the lady’s black garments…was yet another set of garments.

Not only that, this set of garments appeared to be exactly the same as the set of pink garments that Qin Shanshan had always been wearing. It was evident that this lady had been well prepared for the execution of her schemes.

Ye Xiuwen finally realized that the lady had been toying with his feelings. Yet, at the same time, he also began to see even more similarities between this lady and his little martial sister.

And it was precisely because of this that he wanted even more to see the appearance of this lady under her black scarf.

Then, as the lady in black began to untie the black scarf concealing her appearances, Ye Xiuwen’s pupils began to constrict and tense up. Unwittingly, he even held his breath as he watched expectantly for the great reveal.

He couldn’t wait to find out whether her appearances under the scarf was none other than the person that he had hoped to see. This person, could she be…

However, as soon as the lady undid the black scarf and tossed it to the ground, Ye Xiuwen’s heart instantly sank, and his heart began to twinge in pain – It’s not her. It’s really not her…

Ye Xiuwen noticed that this lady touted a completely foreign set of features to her. Apart from the fact that her eyes were astonishingly similar to Jun Xiaomo’s eyes, there was not a single other feature that appeared to match Jun Xiaomo’s features. Thus, Ye Xiuwen’s hopes were completely dashed.

Ye Xiuwen did not know how to deal with the immense disappointment in his heart. Thus, he simply shut his eyes and turned his head around.

At the same time, it was also because he broke eye contact with the lady that he failed to notice the trace of craftiness in the depths of her eyes –

It’s a good thing I’d already used another Masquerade Talisman before this. Otherwise, I might have been forced to reveal my identity to this stranger. After all, how would I know whether this person is telling the truth, or whether he is simply lying through his teeth?

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